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Featured Research Papers

Study authors Sam Golden and Marco Venniro

Study authors Sam Golden and Conor Heins

Featured paper of the Month!

October 2017 - Compulsive Addiction-like Aggressive Behavior in Mice.

Biol Psychiatry. 2017 Aug 15;82(4):239-248. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.03.004. Epub 2017 Mar 17.

Golden SA, Heins C, Venniro M, Caprioli D, Zhang M, Epstein DH, Shaham Y.

Some people are highly motivated to seek aggressive encounters, and among those who have been incarcerated for such behavior, recidivism rates are high. These observations echo two core features of drug addiction: high motivation to seek addictive substances, despite adverse consequences, and high relapse rates. Here we used established rodent models of drug addiction to determine whether they would be sensitive to "addiction-like" features of aggression in CD-1 mice...

You can read more about this paper on PubMed.

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Hot off the Press paper!

September 2017 - Roles of sigma-1 receptors on mitochondrial functions relevant to neurodegenerative diseases.

J Biomed Sci. 2017 Sep 16;24(1):74. doi: 10.1186/s12929-017-0380-6. Review.

Weng TY, Tsai SA, Su TP.

The sigma-1 receptor (Sig-1R) is a chaperone that resides mainly at the mitochondrion-associated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane (called the MAMs) and acts as a dynamic pluripotent modulator in living systems. At the MAM, the Sig-1R is known to play a role in regulating the Ca2+ signaling between ER and mitochondria and in maintaining the structural integrity of the MAM. The MAM serves as bridges between ER and mitochondria regulating multiple functions such as Ca2+ transfer, energy exchange, lipid synthesis and transports, and protein folding that are pivotal to cell survival and defense. Recently, emerging evidences indicate that the MAM is critical in maintaining neuronal homeostasis. Thus, given the specific localization of the Sig-1R at the MAM, we highlight and propose that the direct or indirect regulations of the Sig-1R on mitochondrial functions may relate to neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease (HD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, the promising use of Sig-1R ligands to rescue mitochondrial dysfunction-induced neurodegeneration is addressed.

You can read more about this paper on PubMed.

A figure from this study

A figure from this study

Hot off the Press paper!

Local Cues Establish and Maintain Region-Specific Phenotypes of Basal Ganglia Microglia.

Neuron. 2017 Jul 19;95(2):341-356.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.06.020. Epub 2017 Jul 6.

De Biase LM, Schuebel KE, Fusfeld ZH, Jair K, Hawes IA, Cimbro R, Zhang HY, Liu QR, Shen H, Xi ZX, Goldman D, Bonci A.

Microglia play critical roles in tissue homeostasis and can also modulate neuronal function and synaptic connectivity. In contrast to astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, which arise from multiple progenitor pools, microglia arise from yolk sac progenitors and are widely considered to be equivalent throughout the CNS. However, little is known about basic properties of deep brain microglia, such as those within the basal ganglia (BG). Here, we show that microglial anatomical features, lysosome content, membrane properties, and transcriptomes differ significantly across BG nuclei. Region-specific phenotypes of BG microglia emerged during the second postnatal week and were re-established following genetic or pharmacological microglial ablation and repopulation in the adult, indicating that local cues play an ongoing role in shaping microglial diversity. These findings demonstrate that microglia in the healthy brain exhibit a spectrum of distinct functional states and provide a critical foundation for defining microglial contributions to BG circuit function.

Read more about this paper on PubMed.

Hot off the Press Archives


Barry Hoffer
Dr. Jeremy P. Waletzky Event

This event will take place at the NIDA IRP, in the Atrium of the Biomedical Research Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus in Baltimore on November 9, 2017. The event will feature a variety of speakers discussing addiction and neuroscience well as an award presentation for Dr. Waletzky.

Full Event Schedule Here.

Barry Hoffer
Congratulations to the 2017 NIDA IRP Mentoring Award winners.

Award recipients are (left to right): Geoffrey Schoenbaum, MD, PhD (Investigator Award); Lindsay De Biase, PhD (Postdoctoral Fellow Award); and Karran Phillips, MD (Staff Clinician Award). They were presented with plaques at the 6th annual NIDA Poster Day and Mentoring Awards Ceremony on May 17, 2017. The Mentoring Awards recognize individuals who have served as exceptional mentors to trainees in the institute, and are given annually in the spring.

More about our Research Training program here.

Barry Hoffer
Barry J. Hoffer awarded Honorary Doctors of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki

Dr. Barry J. Hoffer, the former Scientific Director of the NIDA IRP, has been awarded an Honorary Doctors of the Faculty of Philosophy from the University of Helsinki for his lifelong work in neuropharmacology. The Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Helsinki confers distinguished persons from the fields of science, culture and society as honorary doctors each year May. Angela Merkel was also among this year's award recipients.

Full Story Here.

Women Scientist Advisors Committee Logo

This year's winners at the NIDA IRP are Lindsay De Biase (Postdoctoral Fellow), Jayanthi Sankar (Staff Scientist) and Marisela Morales (Investigator). The winners were presented with trophies at the Biomedical Research Center this month.

Learn more about the Women Scientist Advisors Committee here.

Tsung-Ping Su

2016 Award for Sustainable Acquisitions - Individual
Dr. Da-Ting Lin has prioritized energy conservation, financial savings, and protecting both human and environmental health through his work.

Full Story Here.


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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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