The Neurobehavioral Systems Lab (NSL) is always eager to learn, collaborate, mentor, and consult with other talented individuals across the scientific and health care community. Check out who we're working with!
The NSL works closely in collaboration with Dr. Lile, department of behavioral science, across various projects investigating substance use disorders. He offers valuable insight into the integration of clinical pharmacology techniques, reinforcement learning frameworks, and translational procedures into our research. Dr. Lile serves as the primary mentor for the Michael Wesley, PhD, K01 award, which uses TMS to determine the neural mechanisms of cannabis effects, and as a co-PI on two MPI R01 awards (in addition to Joshua Beckmann, PhD) that are determining the neurobehavioral basis of decision-making dynamics in individuals with cocaine or opioid use disorders. Previously, Drs. Wesley and Lile organized a team of inventors that successfully competed for financial support from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation to start a company to develop a neuromodulatory device for substance use disorders.
The NSL’s collaborations with Dr. Beckmann, College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology, reflect initiatives to enhance translational sciences by applying diverse methodologies simultaneously to preclinical and clinical research. His interests in understanding learning, memory, and decision-making processes through animal research offer critical insight into observing these same behaviors in human populations. He serves as a co-PI on the two MPI R01 awards (in addition to Drs. Wesley and Lile) determining the neurobehavioral basis of learning and decision making in those with cocaine and opioid disorders. Additionally, he provides insightful knowledge on the synthesis and analysis of quantitative models of choice behavior which is another broad stroke of the NSL.
The NSL is working with Dr. Rakesh, College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, to further the use of TMS at the University of Kentucky. Combined interests in neuroscience, non-invasive brain stimulation, and cognitive disorders allowed for Dr. Wesley to successfully mentor Dr. Rakesh as a junior faculty member in experimental design and grant writing strategies. They are now co-investigators on an extramural grant as of 2021. Dr. Rakesh’s efforts to apply TMS to treat substance use disorders highlight the importance of the lab’s on-going efforts to research TMS for treatment of substance use disorders.
The NSL works in collaboration with Dr. Weafer, College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology, in the field of cognitive neuroscience, especially as it applies to understanding underlying mechanisms of addiction and substance use disorders. Drs. Wesley and Weafer (in addition to Mark Fillmore, PhD) have submitted an MPI R21 extramural grant application that is currently under review, and earlier this year were published in Psychopharmacology.
The NSL’s collaborations with Dr. Hanlon, Wake Forest School of Medicine, cancer biology, emphasize the lab’s desires to further develop understanding of and investigate emerging protocols for TMS. She is leading national and international efforts to develop a brain stimulation-based approach for drug and alcohol use disorders. As such, she serves as a co-mentor on Dr. Wesley’s K01 award which uses TMS to determine the neural mechanisms of cannabis intoxication.
The NSL’s collaboration efforts with Dr. Fillmore, College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology, are rooted in shared overlapping research interests—neurobehavioral science, behavioral pharmacology, and substance abuse. He presents years of knowledge that aim to improve our understanding of how basic cognitive and behavioral mechanisms play a role in the development of substance abuse and drug addiction. Drs. Wesley and Fillmore (in addition to Dr. Weafer) have submitted an MPI R21 extramural grant application that is currently under review.