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Our Preclinical Neuroscience Research Expertise

Nonhuman primate models with conditioned or unconditioned behavior (e.g., self-administering animal models)

  • Preclinical drug abuse liability studies
  • Pain relief
  • Itch
  • Cognition, memory
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Multi-sensory integration
  • State-of-the-art techniques in electrophysiology and optogenetics and leading preclinical imaging capabilities, from CT to MEG (e.g. PET, MRI/fMRI, MRS)
  • Telemetry implantation and venous port implantation
  • Intrathecal catheterization
  • Microdialysis/HPLC
  • Voltammetry
  • Electrophysiology (patch-clamp)

Get access to nonhuman primate models and imaging services

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center houses more than 70 multidisciplinary researchers focused on neurological diseases – their causes and treatments. Our faculty are world leaders in translational research in alcohol and drug abuse, pain, cognition, gene-diet interactions and nutrition science, inflammation and cellular protection and aging.

Research Focus: Addiction and Substance Abuse

Michael Nader, PhD, and his research team at Wake Forest Baptist have decades of experience using self-administration and dosing paradigms to evaluate the effects of alcohol and illicit substances, as well as therapeutic interventions on behavior and health. Although the team has experience with a variety of model platforms, they specialize in the application of nonhuman primates to substance abuse problems.

We can:

  • Assess the physiology of nonhuman primate subjects during testing
  • Assess conditioned and unconditioned behaviors during testing
  • Assess the abuse liability of drugs or novel compounds
  • Evaluate pharmaceutical interventions for efficacy as well as potential side effects
  • Design studies to test the effect of therapeutic interventions on non-central nervous system outcomes, especially changes in metabolism and cardiovascular function

Neuroscience Faculty Available for Collaboration

Michael Nader, PhD: A leading expert in substance abuse, who specializes in neuropharmacology, Nader has conducted research in self-administering nonhuman primates for over 30 years. Utilizing brain imaging technology and behavior techniques he can study the effects of drugs as well as ways to mitigate their effects on health.

Mei-Chuan “Holden” Ko, PhD: Ko develops nonhuman primate models to study pain and itch sensations. He evaluates the efficacy and side effect profiles of drugs and conducts pharmacological studies in translational nonhuman primate models in order to advance human medicine.

Brian McCool, PhD: Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology with research interests in substance abuse

James Daunais, PhD: Associate Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology with research interests in genomics and proteomics, neurosciences and behavior, radiology imaging and nuclear medicine, and substance abuse

Mark Ferris, PhD: Assistant Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology with research interests in AIDS, neurosciences and behavior, substance abuse and therapeutic agents

Jeffrey Weiner, PhD: Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology with research interests in cognition and learning, mental disorders, neurosciences and behavior, and substance abuse

Sara Jones, PhD: Professor of Physiology & Pharmacology with research interests in therapeutic agents, mental disorders, neurosciences and behavior, and substance abuse

Samuel Deadwyler, PhD and Robert Hampson PhD: These researchers study the neurophysiological basis of memory, behavior and cognition by developing animal models and neural prosthetics. They record neuron patterns in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex and design devices to help restore the cognitive function lost due to brain disease, damage and disorders. They also research drugs of abuse, cognitive-enhancing drugs, sleep deprivation and whole-brain irradiation.

Dwayne Godwin, PhD: Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy with research interests in therapeutic agents, neurosciences and behavior, and radiology imaging and nuclear medicine

Thomas Martin, PhD: Associate Professor of Anesthesiology with research interests in cognition and learning, therapeutic agents, molecular biology, neurosciences and behavior, pain, substance abuse and surgical trauma

Explore Industry Research Collaboration at Wake Forest

We offer customized research teams of renowned scientists, veterinarians and clinicians, experienced technicians and an industry-supportive alliance management team.

We house multiple neuroscience-based animal models, including nonhuman primates, at our Clarkson Campus.

We have the institutional expertise and resources to design customized neuroscience and drug abuse liability preclinical studies and have developed unique behavioral models of nonhuman primates.

Industry-sponsored and contract preclinical research studies conducted here utilize the latest in basic science and imaging technologies available at Wake Forest Baptist’s core labs and preclinical imaging facilities.