Pharmacology and Toxicology - Faculty
Thomas A. Green, Ph.D.
Affiliations Center for Addiction Research
Fax: (409) 747-7050
Research Information Page
2002 Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, University of Kentucky
2000 M.S., Experimental Psychology, University of Kentucky
1996 B.S., Psychology, Texas A&M University
My research career began as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University studying the brain mechanisms underlying the anorexic effects of psychostimulants. Realizing that my interests were shifting toward gaining an understanding of the neurobiology of psychostimulants and their propensity to support addictive behaviors, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Susan Schenk. There I gained expertise in intravenous self-administration models in rats as well as other animal models of compulsive behaviors. Seeking to augment my knowledge in behavioral neuropharmacology, I entered the Experimental Psychology graduate program at the University of Kentucky under the direction of Dr. Michael Bardo, who is recognized for his focus on reward seeking and inhibition as biologically-based constructs that drive vulnerability to compulsive drug-seeking.
My experiences in Dr. Bardo's laboratory enhanced my research repertoire to include new behavioral models and in vitro neuropharmacological techniques. I was also introduced to the concept that rearing under environmentally enriched conditions results in a phenotype that protects against compulsive drug use in the adult rat, a construct that is at the heart of my current research program. Toward the end of graduate school Dr. Bardo suggested I broaden my horizons further by focusing my postdoctoral research on molecular neuroscience. I reasoned that environmental enrichment is a superb model of gene/environment interactions, and that the enrichment phenotype must be a function of differential gene transcription. Thus, I joined Dr. Eric Nestler's laboratory in 2002 as a Postdoctoral Fellow to study transcription factors in the progression from drug use to addiction. I was successful in validating my assertion that enrichment effects are due to changes in gene transcription and identified the transcription factor CREB as a critical mediator of these effects.
I joined the faculty of the Center for Addiction Research in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department at UTMB in January of 2009. I am currently setting up an in vivo viral vector production facility and beginning work on my primary focus: studying the molecular determinants of behavior as it relates to addiction and depression.