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Joshua Lile, PhD


117 Medical Behavioral Science Building


  • Professor

College Unit(s)

Biography and Education


Dr. Joshua Lile is a tenured, Regular-Title Series Professor of Behavioral Science in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, with cross appointments in Psychiatry and Psychology. Dr. Lile is a UK alumnus (Biology, 1997) and received his PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 2002. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Behavioral Science at UK and has been a faculty member of this department since 2005. Dr. Lile’s research is focused on the neurobehavioral basis of substance use disorders and the development of interventions using translational methods and technologies. His graduate research, funded by a pre-doctoral NIDA NRSA, used non-human primate models of drug self-administration to determine the pharmacological characteristics of psychostimulants that contribute to their use. During his post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Lile extended his expertise by studying substance use disorders using human laboratory methods. As a faculty member, Dr. Lile established an independent program of clinical research on cannabis use disorder, supported by NIDA K01, K02 and R01 awards. The main purpose of that research has been to determine non-cannabinoid neuropharmacological mechanisms of the abuse-related effects of cannabis to identify targets for medications development, and then evaluate the effects of promising compounds on cannabis use decisions. Collaborative research in this area is using non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation and neuroimaging to study neural mechanisms of cannabis effects. As a faculty member, Dr. Lile has also continued to engage in projects focused on stimulant use disorders. He has been the PI on two NIDA R01 projects that established and validated translational intravenous cocaine self-administration choice procedures in humans and laboratory animals. The ongoing project employs these methods in a neuroimaging environment to study neurobehavioral mechanisms of drug choice within a reinforcement-learning framework. A newer R01-funded area of research is similarly using cross-species choice, reinforcement learning and neuroimaging procedures to study the neurobehavioral mechanisms of opioid use disorder and the impact of opioid withdrawal on decision-making. Dr. Lile is also a core course director and instructor for the Behavioral Science department’s Clinical and Translational Science graduate program, an active mentor of undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral trainees and early career faculty, and has been a member of the UK Institutional Review Board for over 10 years.

Selected Publications