Dr. Schmidt Interviewed by the Scientific American

“Semaglutide’s story becomes even more complicated in drug addiction. Addictive drugs such as cocaine and opioids are generally thought to “hijack” the brain’s natural reward pathways, says Heath Schmidt, a neuropharmacologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Over time, the brain … Read More

Calcitonin receptor signaling in nucleus accumbens D1R- and D2R-expressing medium spiny neurons bidirectionally alters opioid taking in male rats

The high rates of relapse associated with current medications used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) necessitate research that expands our understanding of the neural mechanisms regulating opioid taking to identify molecular substrates that could be targeted by novel pharmacotherapies … Read More

Schmidt Lab Findings Cited by the Wall Street Journal

“We’re talking about a class of medications that could have efficacy in treating a variety of addictions: cocaine, opioids, nicotine, alcohol, all different addictive drugs with very different pharmacology,” said Heath Schmidt, a neuroscientist studying addiction at the University of … Read More

Schmidt Lab in The Atlantic

Two Schmidt Lab papers were recently cited in The Atlantic article, Did Scientists Accidentally Invent an Addiction Drug? , by Sarah Zhang.

Our nicotine findings highlighted by the Insider

Our recent publication, “Liraglutide attenuates nicotine self-administration as well as nicotine seeking and hyperphagia during withdrawal in male and female rats”, and nicotine work were highlighted in an article by Insider.

Liraglutide attenuates nicotine self-administration as well as nicotine seeking and hyperphagia during withdrawal in male and female rats

Nicotine cessation is associated with increased consumption of highly palatable foods and body weight gain in most smokers. Concerns about body weight gain are a major barrier to maintaining long-term smoking abstinence, and current treatments for nicotine use disorder (NUD) … Read More

Parental nicotine taking elicits heritable sex-specific phenotypes that are mediated by hippocampal Satb2

    Nicotine intake, whether through tobacco smoking or e-cigarettes, remains a global health concern. An emerging preclinical literature indicates that parental nicotine exposure produces behavioral, physiological, and molecular changes in subsequent generations. However, the heritable effects of voluntary parental … Read More

BBC Conference 2023 San Antonio

Schmidt Lab members, Riley Merkel and Rae Herman, attended the 15th annual Behavior, Biology, and Chemistry: Translational Research in Substance Use Disorders in San Antonio March 24-26th. Riley and Rae both received travel awards to attend BBC 2023, present their … Read More

Rae Herman awarded NRSA predoctoral fellowship

Congratulations to our graduate student, Rae Herman, for being awarded a National Research Service Award (NRSA) F31 predoctoral fellowship from NIH!! Rae is eager to utilize her funding to expand her exploration of GLP-1R circuits in the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN) … Read More

Schmidt Lab attends SfN 2022

Schmidt Lab members Antonia Caffrey, Rae Herman, and Riley Merkel presented their research at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, California (Nov. 12 – 16).  In addition to displaying their original findings, the lab also … Read More

Transcriptomic analysis reveals cell type-specific patterns of gene expression associated with morphine intake

Opioid exposure is known to cause transcriptomic changes in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). However, no studies to date have investigated cell type-specific transcriptomic changes associated with volitional opioid taking. Here, we use single nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNAseq) to comprehensively characterize … Read More

Summer Undergraduate Internship Program 2022

  The University of Pennsylvania Summer Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP) is a 10-week intensive research opportunity for visiting undergraduate students. This summer, the Schmidt Lab was fortunate to welcome Camille Carthy, Lafayette College Class of 2023, as a SUIP intern.  … Read More

Seniors Graduate from the Schmidt Lab

Congratulations to Amanda Moreno (B.A.), Riley Merkel (B.A.), Kamryn Stecyk (B.S.), and Suditi Rahematpura (B.S.) (pictured left to right) on their recent graduation from the University of Pennsylvania and the Schmidt Lab as a part of the Undergraduate Class of … Read More

Rachel Carpenter Capstone Project

Congratulations to Rachel Carpenter on the successful completion of her senior capstone project in the Schmidt Lab! For Carpenter’s high school capstone project, she had the opportunity to observe and shadow Dr. Schmidt and other members of the Schmidt lab … Read More

A novel dual agonist of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors and neuropeptide Y2 receptors attenuates fentanyl taking and seeking in male rats

Schmidt Lab members Dr. Yanfang Zhang, Suditi Rahematpura, Kael Ragnini, Amanda Moreno, Kamryn Stecyk and Michelle Kahng, along with collaborators Dr. Brandon Milliken, Dr. Matthew Hayes, and Dr. Robert Doyle, recently published a paper in Neuropharmacology. Find the abstract below: … Read More

Dr. Heath Schmidt Appointed Killebrew-Censits Chair in Undergraduate Education

From the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing: Dr. Schmidt is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine. His area of inquiry … Read More

GLP-1 receptor signaling in the laterodorsal tegmental nucleus attenuates cocaine seeking by activating GABAergic circuits that project to the VTA

Schmidt Lab members Dr. Nicole Hernandez, Kael Ragnini, Riley Merkel, Dr. Yafang Zhang and lab alumnae Vanessa Weir and Kyla Mace recently published a paper in Molecular Psychiatry. Find the abstract below: An emerging preclinical literature suggests that targeting central … Read More

Rae Herman Joins the Schmidt Laboratory

Rae Herman, a second year Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience Graduate Group, has officially joined the Schmidt Lab after her summer rotation. We are very excited to welcome Rae into the lab and support her on her thesis journey over … Read More

Recent Undergraduate Research Awards

Our undergraduate researchers have been recognized by the University for their success and dedication to research! Amanda Moreno ’21 has been named a University Scholar by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF). Riley Merkel ’21 has been awarded … Read More

Administration of a Novel High Affinity PICK1 PDZ Domain Inhibitor Attenuates Cocaine Seeking in Rats

Schmidt Lab alumni Christopher Turner, Jordan Wolfheimer, and Dr. Nicole Hernandez, in collaboration with Drs. De Luca and Madsen of the University of Copenhagen, recently published a paper in Neuropharmacology . Find the abstract below: Protein interacting with C kinase-1 … Read More

Featured: Neuropsychopharmacology Cover Image

A figure from Dr. Yafang Zhang’s recent paper Activation of GLP-1 receptors attenuates oxycodone taking and seeking without compromising the antinociceptive effects of oxycodone in rats was recently featured on the cover of Neuropsychopharmacology (middle image). Congrats Dr. Zhang and … Read More

Activation of GLP-1 Receptors Attenuates Oxycodone Taking and Seeking Without Compromising the Antinociceptive Effects of Oxycodone in Rats

Postdoctoral researcher Yafang Zhang recently had a paper published in Neuropsychopharmacology in collaboration with many of our lab members! Congrats Yafang! Find the abstract below: Despite the effectiveness of current medications to treat opioid use disorder, there is still a … Read More

Thesis Defense: Nicole Hernandez

On Tuesday, September 24, our NGG student Nicole successfully defended her doctoral thesis! Her talk was entitled “The Role of the Central GLP-1 System in Cocaine-Seeking Behavior,” and it encapsulated her 5 years of graduate research into the effects and … Read More

Fall CURF Expo 2019

Suditi Rahematpura ’21 and Amanda Moreno ’21 presented their summer research projects funded by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) at the Fall 2019 Research Expo!

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