Welcome to the Gipson Lab

The focus of the lab is to identify novel neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms to guide the treatment of addiction, including glutamatergic, dopaminergic, neuroimmune, and ovarian hormone mechanisms underlying addiction to various drugs of abuse during young adulthood and during the female reproductive transition of menopause. Projects focus on nicotine, heroin, and oxycodone/cocaine co-use, utilizing both in vivo and in vitro methodologies to study rapid alterations in synaptic plasticity (measured as changes in dendritic spines or AMPA/NMDA current ratios using whole cell patch clamp electrophysiology) during or immediately following behavior (specifically, during self-administration and reinstatement of drug seeking in a preclinical rodent model of relapse). To date, our work has revealed novel neurobiological mechanisms of addiction, and has the potential to contribute to the development of novel therapeutic options aimed at reversing drug-induced alterations and thus improve drug use cessation outcomes. This work has resulted in translational collaborations to examine clinical efficacy of pharmacotherapeutics in promoting drug use cessation.


We are currently funded by 4 grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH):

  1. R01 DA046526 (Gipson-Reichardt, PI; 09/30/2019-08/31/2024). Neuroinflammatory and glutamatergic mechanisms of nicotine seeking.
  2. R21 DA044479 (Gipson-Reichardt, PI;  07/15/2018-06/30/2021). Cholinergic modulation of glutamatergic signaling in nicotine addiction and relapse.
  3. R03 DA045881 (Gipson-Reichardt, PI; 09/30/2018-08/31/2021). Glutamatergic mechanisms underlying nicotine addiction and relapse following nicotine reduction.
  4. R21 DA049130 (Gipson-Reichardt, MPI; Stoops, MPI;  09/20/2020-08/31/2025). Glutamatergic mechanisms in opioid and cocaine co-use.




Recent News

Dr. Gipson-Reichardt Received the College on Problems of Drug Dependence’s (CPDD) 2021 Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award for Excellence.

Dr. Gipson-Reichardt has received the highest honor CPDD bestows on an early career researcher, the Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award.

See full article here.

2021 NIDA Summer Research Internship Program – Student Application

Undergraduate students interested in interning in our lab this coming summer are welcome to apply to the 2021 NIDA Summer Research Internship Program. See application information below.

2021 NIDA Summer Research Internship Program

Application Deadline: February 12, 2021

The NIDA Summer Research Internship Program introduces undergraduate students from underrepresented populations to substance abuse research through internships with NIDA scientists at universities across the United States. The experience may include laboratory experiments, formal courses, data collection activities, data analysis, patient recruitment, patient interviews, manuscript preparation, literature reviews and library research. Internships include a paid 8-week intensive, hands-on substance abuse and addiction research experience that provides students with the opportunity to gain an understanding of the research process. Since the program’s inception in 1997, over 1100 students have gained valuable drug abuse research experience, some of which have continued to pursue a career in substance abuse research.

  • Eligibility
    • This NIDA Summer Research Internship program is designed to train individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences research workforce, to conduct research and to prepare for careers in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences such as individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the NSF to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.  In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program.  For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see NOT-OD-15-089.
    • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and citizens or permanent residents of the United States (no exceptions).
    • Individuals who have already participated in the NIDA Summer Research Internship Program are no longer eligible to apply.
  • Scope of Support
    • Undergraduate students receive stipends of $12.00 per hour.  Students are required to work 40 hours/week for a total of 8 weeks. Students placed at non-local sites are eligible for up to $3,000 for travel and housing expenses.
  • How to Apply
  • When to Apply
    • All Application components, including the two letters of recommendation must be submitted online by February 12, 2021.

New Publication: Accumbens Cholinergic Interneurons Mediate Cue-induced Nicotine Seeking and Associated Glutamatergic Plasticity

See our recent publication, “Accumbens cholinergic interneurons mediate cue-induced nicotine seeking and associated glutamatergic plasticity,” in eNeuro, which is available for early release here!