Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #60
CE Offered: None

Neuroimaging and Drug Taking in Primates

Saturday, May 26, 2012
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
6BC (Convention Center)
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Leonard L. Howell, Ph.D.
Chair: Karen G. Anderson (West Virginia University)
LEONARD L. HOWELL (Yerkes National Primate Research Center)
Dr. Howell received his B.A. in chemistry from Emory University in 1978 and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology with a minor in biochemistry and physiology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1985. Following postdoctoral training in psychobiology at Harvard Medical School, he accepted a faculty position at Emory University in 1987. He is currently Chief of the Division of Neuropharmacology and Neurologic Diseases and Director of the Imaging Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine. His research program focuses on the neuropharmacology of abused stimulants and includes basic neurobiological studies of drug mechanisms as well as medications development to treat stimulant abuse. The program is translational in its focus and bridges preclinical, nonhuman primate models with therapeutic applications in humans. Additional interests include the long-term consequences of chronic stimulant use on behavior and brain function. His neuroimaging program includes drug receptor occupancy, pharmacokinetics, brain metabolism and functional magnet resonance imaging (fMRI) in awake, behaving monkeys. The long-range objective is to develop a multidisciplinary research program in substance abuse that effectively integrates behavior, in vivo neurochemistry and functional brain imaging in nonhuman primates. He was recognized for his contributions with an NIH MERIT Award (2007-2016) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Neuroimaging techniques have led to significant advances in our understanding of the neurobiology of drug-taking and the treatment of drug addiction in humans. The presentation by Dr. Leonard Howell describes the utility of neuroimaging toward understanding the neurobiological basis of drug taking, and documents the close concordance that can be achieved among neuroimaging, neurochemical and behavioral endpoints. The study of drug interactions with dopamine and serotonin transporters in vivo has identified pharmacological mechanisms of action associated with the abuse liability of stimulants. Neuroimaging has identified the extended limbic system, including the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate, as important neuronal circuitry that underlies drug taking. The ability to conduct within-subject, longitudinal assessments of brain chemistry and neuronal function has enhanced our efforts to document long-term changes in dopamine D2 receptors, monoamine transporters, and prefrontal metabolism due to chronic drug exposure. Dysregulation of dopamine function and brain metabolic changes in areas involved in reward circuitry has been linked to drug-taking behavior, cognitive impairment and treatment response. Experimental designs employing neuroimaging should consider well-documented determinants of drug taking, including pharmacokinetic considerations, subject history and environmental variables. These integrative approaches should have important implications for understanding drug-taking behavior and the treatment of drug addiction.

Target Audience:

We don't want this talk to be considered for C.E. credit, but there's no way to by-pass these fields. Please disregard anything to do with CEUs.

Learning Objectives: see above
Keyword(s): dopamine, drug self-administration, neuroimaging, primate



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