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A new target for alcoholism treatment: Kappa opioid receptors

Brendan Walker
Brendan Walker

The list of brain receptor targets for opiates reads like a fraternity: Mu Delta Kappa. Until now, the mu opioid receptor received the most attention in alcoholism research.

A new study in Biological Psychiatry, led by Brendan Walker, WSU associate professor of psychology, used a rat model of alcohol dependence to directly investigate the kappa opioid receptor (KOR) system following chronic alcohol exposure and withdrawal. These findings provide researchers with a potentially successful path to developing new drugs for the treatment of alcoholism.

Read more about this compelling research in Science Codex

Collaborations enhance addiction therapy research

Brendan Walker

A faculty member is one of about 25 scientists selected to participate in a prestigious international symposium this week, where he will discuss his work on drug and alcohol addiction and upcoming collaboration with WSU Spokane addiction researchers. This collaboration is expected to lead to combined behavioral and pharmaceutical therapies.

Brendan Walker, Washington State University associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, attended the fifth Indo-American “Frontiers of Science” symposium, sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Kavli Foundation, in Agra, India. “Frontiers of Science” facilitates collaboration between nationally and internationally recognized young scientists in the physical and life sciences. Some previous participants have gone on to become NAS members and Nobel Prize recipients.

“I was very surprised when the invitation from the president of the NAS came. It’s definitely an honor,” he said.

Read more about the research at WSU News >>

Presidential award goes to neuroscience researcher

Brendan Walker
Brendan Walker

Washington State University Department of Psychology neuroscience researcher Brendan Walker has been selected to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is the highest honor the federal government awards scientists and engineers who have recently initiated independent research careers.

Walker was selected for his work in developing new therapies for alcohol addiction. The Presidential Awards are intended to recognize and nurture some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the twenty-first century.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Walker. “It is wonderful to see this area of research recognized for its importance at the highest levels.” » More …