I maintain several research areas within behavioral pharmacology. A key line of research involves the determination of the role of ghrelin (an orexigenic peptide) on nicotine and cocaine reinforcement. A second line of research involves characterizing the impact of chronic nicotine on meal pattern and body weight in male and female rats as a function of maintenance diet. My research has been funded by NIDA (collaboration with Jack Nation) and by corporate sponsors such as Thompson Medical Company and Knoll Pharmaceutical.
NIH (2005-2007) “Psychostimulants and Alpha1-adrenergic receptors”
NIH (2007-2012) “Heavy Metal and Drug Self-Administration: mechanisms”
Davis, K. W., Wellman, P. J., & Clifford, P. S. (2007). Augmented cocaine conditioned place preference in rats pretreated with systemic ghrelin. Regulatory Peptides, 140 (3): 148-52.
Mendez, I. A., Simon, N. W., Hart, N., Mitchell, M. R., Nation, J. R., Wellman, P. J., & Setlow, B. (2010) Self-administered cocaine causes long-lasting increases in impulsive choice in a delay discounting task. Behav Neurosci., 124(4):470-7.
Wellman, P. J., Clifford, P., Rodriguez, R. et.al., (2011) Pharmacologic Antagonism of Ghrelin Receptors Attenuates Nicotine Induced Locomotor Sensitization in Rats. Regulatory Peptides, 172(1-3):77-80.
Wellman, P. J., Clifford, P. S., Rodriguez, R., et al., (2011) Brain Reinforcement System Function is Ghrelin Dependent: Studies in the Rat Using Pharmacological fMRI and Intracranial Self-Stimulation. Addiction Biology, Oct 21.
Wallis D, Hill DS, Mendez IA, Abbott LC, Finnell RH, Wellman PJ, Setlow B. (2012) Initial characterization of mice null for Lphn3, a gene implicated in ADHD and addiction. Brain Res. Jun 29;1463:85-92.
Clifford PS, Rodriguez J, Schul D, Hughes S, Kniffin T, Hart N, Eitan S, Brunel L, Fehrentz JA, Martinez J, Wellman PJ. (2012) Attenuation of cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization in rats sustaining genetic or pharmacologic antagonism of ghrelin receptors. Addict Biol. Nov;17(6):956-63.
Wellman PJ, Clifford PS, Rodriguez JA, Hughes S, Di Francesco C, Melotto S, Tessari M, Corsi M, Bifone A, Gozzi A. (2012) Brain reinforcement system function is ghrelin dependent: studies in the rat using pharmacological fMRI and intracranial self-stimulation. Addict Biol. Sep;17(5):908-19.
Wellman PJ, Clifford PS, Rodriguez JA. (2013) Ghrelin and ghrelin receptor modulation of psychostimulant action. Front Neurosci. Sep 25;7:171.
Bates ML, Emery MA, Wellman PJ, Eitan S. Social housing conditions influence morphine dependence and the extinction of morphine place preference in adolescent mice. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014