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).  We also study microglia-neuron interactions during nicotine consumption and seeking. To date, our work has revealed novel neurobiological mechanisms of drug use, 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 3 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 DA055879 (Gipson-Reichardt, PI; 09/27/2022-08/30/2024). Contributions of Progestins Independently and Interactively with Contraceptive Estrogen to Nicotine Use
  3. R33 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

New Grant Awarded!

We were awarded a new R21 grant from NIDA, titled ” Contributions of Progestins Independently and Interactively with Contraceptive Estrogen to Nicotine Use”. A collaboration with Drs. Heather Bimonte-Nelson (ASU) and Josh Beckmann (UK)!

Check out our talks at CPDD 2022!

We have 3 (!!!) oral presentations at College on Problems of Drug Dependence in Minneapolis, MN this year! Please come see us if you can!

  • Dr. Erin Maher:
Chronic Administration of Synthetic Contraceptive Hormones Alters Nicotine Consumption in an Ethanol Co-Use Model in Ovary-Intact Female Rats. Oral Communication: Nicotine Co-Use Oral Presentation. Tuesday 4 PM – 4:15 PM .Symphony Ballroom III
  • Dr. Shailesh Khatri:
Cocaine Use During Oxycodone Withdrawal Reduces Somatic Signs of Withdrawal and is Associated With Aberrant Accumbens Glutamatergic Plasticity. Oral Communication: Trends in Polysubstance Use. Oral Presentation. Sunday 7:45 PM – 8 PM .Conrad BC
  • Emma Bondy:
Chemogenetic Inhibition of Accumbens Microglia Reduces Nicotine Seeking. Oral Communication: Neuroscience of SUDs I. Oral Presentation. Monday 4 PM – 4:15 PM .Orchestra AB

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!