Welcome to the Gipson Lab

We are housed in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences in the College of Medicine at UK. 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).  We also study microglia-neuron interactions during nicotine consumption and seeking. 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.

We are also funded by a Faculty Pilot award from the Substance Use Priority Research Area (SUPRA):

“Evaluating the neurobiological mechanisms of suvorexant in reducing fentanyl withdrawal and relapse”



Recent News

Tyrone Kendrick joins the Gipson Lab for Fall 2022!

Tyrone Kendrick has joined the Gipson Lab to complete his Ph.D. in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program at UK. Welcome Tyrone!

Emma Bondy accepted into the Nutritional Sciences Ph.D. Program!

Congratulations to Emma Bondy for her acceptance into the Nutritional Sciences Ph.D. program! Emma will be completing her Ph.D. in the Gipson lab within the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, starting in Fall 2022. Welcome Emma!

SRNT 2022!

Emma Bondy and Erin Maher presented their findings at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 2022 in Baltimore MD.

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.