The Drug Abuse Research Lab (DARL)


  • Caitlin has been awarded a Regional Research Award from Psi Chi at MPA 2011.
  • Marybeth received a FUN Travel Award to attend Society for Neuroscience in San Diego.
  • Rick, Corey and Wes have published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior.
  • Nina is beginning her Ph.D. studies in School Psychology at Ball State.

DARL is committed to engaging undergraduates in meaningful research experiences. Over the past 4 years, 4 students have received Undergraduate Research Grants from Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology, a funding mechanism that is currently funding only the top 20% of submissions. Five students have received summer stipends from BU Special Emphasis Grants, and 7 have presented data at National Conferences. Each of those students are now attending graduate school.

Currently, DARL is pursuing two main research objectives. The first is to establish the behavioral and molecular consequences of environmental enrichment. Broadly speaking, enrichment has been shown to promote enduring changes in spontaneous locomotor activity and various learning tasks. These adaptations have been linked to alterations in the dopamine system. Our goal is to characterized the effects of enrichment during development on subsequent cocaine self-administration behavior, learning and impulse control in a T-maze task, and expression of dopamine-sensitive proteins in the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. The second main objective is to compare the effects of continuous infusion versus intermittent injections of methylphenidate on similar mesures in a model of ADHD.

The lab currently includes 5 active members, 4 of whom recently presented data at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in San Diego in November, 2010. For more information about their experience, check out the award-winning Bradley University Psi Chi Website

Selected Publications

  • Griggs, R., Weir, C., Wayman, W. and Koeltzow, T.E. (2010). Intermittent methylphenidate during adolescent development produces locomotor hyperactivity and an enhanced response to cocaine compared to continuous treatment in rats. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2010.04.026.
  • Koeltzow and Vezina (2005). Locomotor activity and cocaine-seeking behavior during acquisition and reinstatment of operant self-administration behavior in rats. Behavioral Brain Research 160(2): 250.
  • Koeltzow and White (2003). Behavioral depression during cocaine withdrawal is associated with decreased spontaneous activity of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons. Behavioral Neuroscience 117(4): 860.
  • Koeltzow, Xu, Cooper, Hu, Tonegawa, Wolf and White (1998). Alterations in dopamine release but not autoreceptor function in dopamine D3 receptor mutant mice. Journal of Neuroscience 18(6):2231.