Brendan M. Walker
Ph.D. University of California at Santa Barbara, 2004
Office: Johnson Tower 210
Phone: (509) 335-8526
- Psychology 198: Honors Introductory Psychology
- Psychology 265: Biopsychological Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs
- Psychology 301: Seminar - Catching the Big One - How Drugs of Abuse Keep You on the Hook
- Psychology 301: Seminar – “If Only We Could Forget – Targeting Reconsolidation for the Treatment of Neuropsychiatric Disorders”
- Psychology 372: Physiological Psychology
- Psychology 401: History of Psychology
- University Honors 270: Principles and Research Methods in Social Sciences
- Neurobiology of Motivational Systems
- Excessive Self-Administration resulting from Alcohol and Drug Dependence
- Chronic Alcohol and Drug-Induced Depression and Anxiety
- Alcohol and Drug-Induced Alterations in Impulsivity
- Plasticity Associated with Negative Reinforcement Mechanisms
- Molecular and Genetic Determinants of Chronic Alcohol and Drug-related Altered Behavioral Regulation
- Adolescent Exposure to Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse
My long-term research interest has been the neurobiology of motivational systems and how acute and long-term alcohol (and other drugs of abuse such as heroin) impact brain reward systems to promote increased drug seeking and consumption. Utilizing a combination of behavioral, anatomical, pharmacological, immunohistochemical, molecular and genetic approaches, we are currently evaluating the neuroadaptations produced by chronic ethanol and opioid exposure that promote enhanced intake of these abused compounds. This excessive intake is hypothesized to reflect the development of negative reinforcement (learning about the reinforcing (response increasing) nature of aversive stimulus removal that occurs when alcohol and drugs are consumed to relieve acute and protracted withdrawal symptoms) processes that compliment positive reinforcement processes governing non-dependent intake that developed earlier in life. Consequently, we are extremely interested in dependence-induced depression and anxiety because they appear to be lay the foundation for the observed increases in the negative reinforcing properties of abused substances. As an extension of this work, we also focus on the morphological and molecular mechanisms of plasticity associated with negative reinforcement learning. The lab is also investigating differences in impulsivity produced by chronic alcohol and drug exposure, as well as, animal models of adolescent alcohol and drug exposure that impact adult alcohol and drug intake. Once enough information is gathered about the nature of the brain’s response to chronic alcohol and drug exposure, that information can be used to help develop pharmacotherapies for the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction.
Smith AW, Nealey KA, Wright JW and Walker BM (2011). Plasticity associated with escalated operant ethanol self-administration during acute withdrawal in ethanol-dependent rats requires intact matrix metalloproteinase systems. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 96, 199-206.
Nealey KA, Smith AW, Davis SM, Smith DG and Walker BM (2011). K-opioid receptors are implicated in the increased potency of intra-accumbens nalmefene in ethanol-dependent rats. Neuropharmacology, 61, 35-42
Walker BM, Zorrilla EP, Koob GF (2011). Systemic K-opioid receptor antagonism by nor-binaltorphimine reduces dependence-induced excessive alcohol self-administration in rats. Addiction Biology, 16, 1, 116-119.
Walker JL, Walker BM, Fuentes FM, Rector DM (2011). Rat psychomotor vigilance task with fast response times using a conditioned lick behavior. Behavioural Brain Research, 216, 1, 229-237.
Walker BM, Drimmer DA, Walker JL, Liu T, Mathe AA, Ehlers CE (2010). Effects of prolonged ethanol vapor exposure on forced swim behavior, and neuropeptide Y and corticotropin releasing factor levels in rat brains. Alcohol, 44, 6, 487-493.
Walker BM and Ehlers CL (2009). Appetitive motivational experience during adolescence results in enhanced alcohol consumption during adulthood. Behavioral Neuroscience, 123, 4, 926-935.
Walker BM and Koob GF (2008). Pharmacological evidence for a motivational role of kappa-opioid systems in ethanol dependence. Neuropsychopharmacology, 33, 643-652
Walker BM and Ettenberg A (2007). Intracerebroventricular ethanol-induced conditioned place preferences are prevented by fluphenazine infusions into the nucleus accumbens. Behavioral Neuroscience, 121, 2, 401-410.
Walker BM and Koob GF (2007). The GABAB receptor agonist baclofen attenuates operant responding for ethanol in ethanol-dependent rats. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31, 1, 11-18.
Walker BM and Ettenberg A (2005). Intra-ventral tegmental area heroin-induced place preferences are potentiated by systemic alprazolam. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 82, 3, 470-477.
Walker BM and Ettenberg A (2001). Benzodiazepine modulation of opiate reward. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 9, 2, 191-197.