Maharaj Ticku Professor of Pharmacology
Professor of Psychiatry
Ph.D., University of Michigan
drug abuse, opioids, benzodiazepines, GHB, drug discrimination, self administration, dependence, withdrawal, neuropharmacology
Research in the France laboratory focuses on interactions between behavior and pharmacology and how those interactions impact the abuse liability of drugs. One major goal is to understand how the subjective and other abuse-related effects of drugs change as a consequence of particular behavioral and pharmacologic histories. Behavioral procedures developed in this laboratory permit systemic investigation of drug dependence and withdrawal and ongoing studies examine how these phenomena can be modified by behavioral and pharmacologic interventions.
A unifying theme of research in the France laboratory is the application of receptor theory to the planning, execution, and interpretation of behavioral pharmacological studies. Thus, many of our studies examine differences in efficacy and selectivity among potential drugs of abuse and potential treatment compounds, thereby identifying the pharmacologic characteristics of drugs that are most important for specific behavioral effects (e.g., reinforcing effects).
Current areas of research include the following: the role of different monoamine systems in modifying the abuse and therapeutic effects of opioids; the impact of different diets on the abuse and therapeutic effects of drug acting on serotonin or dopamine systems; interactions between GHB and other "club drugs"; the role of insulin receptor pathways in regulating dopamine transporter activity and sensitivity to stimulants; GABA receptor heterogeneity and the dependence liability of sedative/hypnotics; and the influence of physical dependence on the reinforcing effects of opioids.
Appointments, Boards, Committees and Memberships
Councilor - American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Governing Board - July, 2012
Dr. Lisa Gerak - Assistant Professor/Research
Dr. Gregory Collins - Instructor/Research
Dr. David Maguire - Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Katherine Serafine - Postdoctoral Fellow
Marlisa Burton - Research Assistant
Mark Garza - Research Assistant
Marissa McCarthy - Research Assistant
Carlos Moreno - Research Assistant
Crystal Taylor - Research Assistant
Cedric Henson - START-UP Student