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Samuel A. Deadwyler, PhD

Samuel A. Deadwyler, Ph.D., Professor

Dr. Deadwyler is a Neuroscientist who has been at WFSM for 36 years in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. He served as Vice Chair of that Department from 1999-2008. He has been actively involved in every aspect of the institution's missions in research and teaching over that period of time and has mentored several successful researchers in his field. He has been Co-Director of the NIDA Center on the Neurobiological Basis of Drug Abuse within the Department and has held an NIH Senior Scientist Career Award for 20 years. He has served on several NIH grant review and policy making panels and has been both president and board member of major societal organizations in the Neuroscience Area. In 2003 he received the WFSM Senior Investigator Basic Science Award. 

SYNOPSIS OF AREA OF INTEREST: Dr. Deadwyler has active research interests in several areas of Neuroscience including: behavioral, systemic and cellular correlates of neuroplasticity, learning and memory and substance abuse. 

DETAILED AREA OF INTEREST: The laboratory of Dr. Deadwyler has been funded to perform research in the Neurosciences for over 30 years with 3 major concentrations including cellular/molecular, behavioral and cognitive investigations of the neurobiological bases of learning and memory. Research has been carried out continuously over all three of these investigative levels, from rodents to humans. These include electrophysiological patch clamp recording and assessment of intracellular synaptic events in single isolated neurons in vitro, recording of populations of neurons in behaving animals and humans. Each of these technologies is geared toward the general goal of understanding the neural basis of learning and memory, expressed in various experimental contexts. Over the years these investigations have included characterization of the role of the hippocampus in cognitive function in animal models and an extension of those investigations to other brain regions such as prefrontal cortex and striatum. Dr. Deadwyler has many fruitful collaborations including a long-time collaboration with fellow Wake Forest Associate Professor Dr. Robert Hampson, University of Southern California Professor Dr. Theodore Berger, and University of Kentucky Professor Dr. Greg Gerhardt, who have teamed up to characterize the role of the hippocampus in learning, memory and cognition with a goal of restoring cognitive function in humans following brain damage or disease.  Overall, his research has ranged from determining the effects of cannabinoids, other drugs of abuse and potential cognitive enhancers to eventually alter the cognitive impact of clinical conditions such as sleep deprivation, epilepsy and whole-brain irradiation.

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