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Neuroscience PhD at Wake Forest University at Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University Graduate School » Neuroscience PhD at Wake Forest University

Jeff Weiner

Jeff Weiner
The overall focus of our lab is to unravel the neurobiological mechanisms responsible for alcohol’s intoxicating and addictive effects.   Our experimental approach seeks to integrate in vitro electrophysiological methods, like the whole cell patch-clamp technique, along with a wide range of behavioral approaches using rat and mouse models.  Many of our studies are focused on identifying synaptic mechanisms that contribute to alcohol’s negative reinforcing properties, like its anti-anxiety effects, and in identifying and testing novel pharmacotherapies that may reduce excessive alcohol drinking.   Some of our current projects include characterizing the physiological and pharmacological properties of two distinct inhibitory circuits in the amygdala that may contribute to alcohol’s anxiolytic effects, neurophysiological and behavioral characterization of a line of genetically engineered mice with increased sensitivity to alcohol’s anxiolytic properties, and studies on the effect of early life stress on ethanol self-administration and the neurocircuitry that regulates ethanol drinking behaviors.


Silberman Y, Bajo M, Chappell AM, Christian DT, Cruz M, Diaz MR, Kash T, Lack AK, Messing RO, Siggins GR, Winder D, Roberto M, McCool BA, Weiner JL (2009) Neurobiological mechanisms contributing to alcohol-stress-anxiety interactions.Alcohol, 43: 509-519. Silberman Y, Ariwodola OJ, Weiner JL (2009) Differential Effects of GABAB Autoreceptor Activation on Ethanol Potentiation of Local and Lateral Paracapsular GABAergic Synapses in the Rat Basolateral Amygdala.Neuropharmacology, 56: 886-895. Chappell AM, Weiner JL (2008) Relationship between ethanol's acute locomotor effects and ethanol self-administration in male Long-Evans rats.Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 32: 2088-2099. Silberman Y, Shi L, Brunso-Bechtold JK, Weiner JL (2008) Distinct mechanisms of ethanol potentiation of local and paracapsular GABAergic synapses in the rat basolateral amygdala.Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 324: 251-260. Läck AK, Ariwodola OJ, Chappell AM, Weiner JL, McCool BA (2008) Ethanol inhibition of kainate receptor-mediated excitatory neurotransmission in the rat basolateral nucleus of the amygdala.Neuropharmacology, 55: 661-668 Werner DF, Blednov YA, Ariwodola OJ, Silberman Y, Logan E, Berry RB, Borghese CM, Matthews D, Weiner JL, Harrison NL, Harris RA, Homanics GE (2006) Knock-in mice with ethanol-insensitive alpha1-containing GABAA receptors display selective alterations in behavioral responses to ethanol.Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 319: 219-227. Dubois D, Perlegas A, Floyd D, Weiner J, McCool B (2006) Distinct functional characteristics of the lateral/basolateral amygdala GABAergic system in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice.Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 318: 629-640. Weiner JL, Valenzuela CF (2006) Ethanol modulation of GABAergic inhibition: The view from the slice, Pharmacology and Therapeutics111: 533-554. Crowder TL, Ariwodola OJ, WeinerJL (2006) Kainate receptor activation potentiates GABAergic synaptic transmission in the nucleus accumbens core.Brain Research, 1088: 73-82. Roberto M, Treistman SN, Pietrykowski AZ, Weiner JL, Galindo MM, Valenzuela CF, Zhu P, Lovinger D, Zhang TA, Hendricson AH, Morrisett R and Siggins GR (2006) Actions of acute and chronic ethanol on presynaptic terminals, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, 30: 222-232. Ramsey MM, Ariwodola OJ, Sonntag WE, Weiner JL (2005) Functional characterization of DES-IGF-1 action at excitatory synapses in the CA1 region of rat hippocampus. Journal of Neurophysiology, 94: 247-254. Ariwodola OJ, Weiner JL (2004) Ethanol potentiation of GABAergic synaptic transmission may be self-limiting: role of presynaptic GABAB receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 24: 10679-10686. Ariwodola OJ, Crowder TL, Grant KA, Daunais JB, Friedman DP, Weiner JL (2003) Ethanol modulation of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission in rat and monkey dentate granule neurons.Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 27:1632-1639. Carta M, Ariwodola OJ, Weiner JL, Valenzuela CF (2003) Alcohol potently inhibits the kainate receptor-dependent excitatory drive of hippocampal interneurons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100: 6813-6818.


“Translational Center for the Neurobehavioral Study of Alcohol”, NIH/NIAAA P01 AA017056, Center Director, Project 3 Co-PI: Jeff Weiner. Synaptic Correlates of Ethanol-Mediated Anxiolysis, NIH/NIAAA R01 AA013960; PI: Jeff Weiner “Synaptic Correlates of Ethanol-Related Behaviors”, NIH,NIAAA R21 AA016643; PI: Jeff Weiner “Ethanol Mechanisms in GABAA Receptor Gene Targeted Mice”, NIH/NIAAA R01 AA010422, PI: Gregg Homanics, Wake Forest Subcontract PI: Jeff Weiner “The Ethanol-Anxiety Interaction: Cellular Mechanisms”, NIH/NIAAA RO1 AA 014445, PI: Brian McCool.