Roland Griffiths PhD

Professor of Behavioral Biology
Telephone Number: 410-550-0034
Fax Number: 410-550-0030

Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus
Behavioral Biology Research Center #3000
Department of Psychiatry
Baltimore, MD 21205
Room: BBRC #3038, 5510 Nathan Shock Drive
Areas of Research
Systems, Cognitive + Computational Neuroscience
Neural Circuits, Ensembles + Connectomes
Neurobiology of Disease

Graduate Program Affiliations

Neuroscience Training Program

Behavioral Pharmacology of Drugs of Abuse

1. Sedative-Hypnotics: Behavioral Pharmacology in Humans and Infra-humans: One research program focuses on the behavioral pharmacology of benzodiazepines and related compounds. Human studies involve assessment of subjective effects (e.g., mood changes), behavioral changes (e.g., effects on psychomotor, memory, judgement, and social behaviors), tolerance, and drug self-administration. Research with baboons and rats involves drug discrimination, physical dependence, tolerance, schedule-controlled behavior, drug self-administration, and drug administration to discrete brain sites. By investigating the range of drugs that interact at the GABA/benzodiazepine-receptor/chloride channel complex, these studies will provide information about behavioral and pharmacological mechanisms of action and neuroanatomical sites of action of these widely prescribed therapeutic agents.

2. Caffeine: Behavioral Pharmacology in Humans and Infrahumans: Another research program is examining the reinforcing, discriminative, tolerance-producing, physical dependence-producing effects of caffeine in humans and baboons. The interactive effects of a variety of drugs with caffeine are being explored to provide information about pharmacological and behavioral mechanisms underlying the behavioral effects of relatively low doses of caffeine.

3. Behavioral Pharmacology of Psilocybin and Other Novel Mood-Altering Drugs: In 1999 we initiated a research program investigating the effects of the classic hallucinogen psilocybin that includes studies of psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experiences in healthy volunteers, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of psychological distress in cancer patients, psilocybin-facilitated treatment of cigarette smoking cessation, psilocybin effects in beginning and long-term meditators, and psilocybin effects in religious leaders. Drug interaction studies and brain imaging studies (fMRI and PET) are examining pharmacological and neural mechanisms of action. The Hopkins laboratory has also conducted a recent series of internet survey studies characterizing the effects hallucinogen-occasioned mystical experiences, challenging experiences, and effects on substance abuse.

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