McLean Researcher Awarded Grants for Drug Abuse Research

February 21, 2001 -- Belmont, MA --  William Carlezon, PhD, director of the Behavioral Genetics Laboratory at McLean Hospital, has been awarded two grants from the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA). The grants, with a combined total of $1.05 million, will be used to study how cocaine affects the molecular biology of the brain.

One area of focus will examine whether or not the pleasurable effects of cocaine are related to the drug’s ability to change the movement of calcium into brain cells. The second area of study pertains to how long-term exposure to cocaine affects the expression of certain genes within the amygdala, the region of the brain associated with emotion.

Carlezon established his laboratory in the Mailman Research Center at McLean Hospital in 1998. He received his bachelor’s degree in biopsychology at Bates College in Maine; his PhD in psychology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada; and his postdoctoral training in molecular biology at Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut.