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Psychological Sciences at MU
Dennis Miller

Dennis Miller, Tutor

Associate Professor
212C McAlester Hall
Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory

Research area(s):

My research is in neuropsychopharmacology, with an interest in the development of pharmacotherapies for drug addiction and neurodegnerative disorders.  Currently, we are investigating novel targets for treatments for methamphetamine abuse and addiction. We have recently determined that ligands for sigma receptors can alter methamphetamine's neurochemical and behavioral properties.

My second research focus has been on the causes of and treatments for neurodegenerative disorders. Our research has determined that environmental exposure to "heavy" metals, such as cadmium, can cause a degeneration of striatal dopamine neurons (Miller, Dopheide et al., 2005), which might contribute to the development of Parkinson disease and schizophrenia. Ongoing research is investigating how drugs of abuse, such as tobacco, that inherently contain "heavy" metals may contribute to cadmium exposure and, subsequently, neurodegenerative disorders.   

Finally, my laboratory has established a collaborative research program to investigate the development and progression of Alzheimer disease and stroke. Collectively, we have investigated how ethanol, polyphenols and lobeline can be neuroprotective and prevent behavioral impairments in rodent disease models (Wang et al., 2005, 2007).


Cunningham, C. S., Polston, J. E., Jany, J. R., Segert, I. L., & Miller, D. K. (2006). Interaction of lobeline and nicotinic receptor ligands with the discriminative stimulus properties of cocaine and amphetamines. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 84, 211-222. PMID: 16500038.

Dopheide, M. M., Morgan, R. E., Rodvelt, K. R., Schachtman, T. R., & Miller, D. K. (2007).  Modafinil evokes striatal [3H]dopamine release and alters the subjective properties of stimulants. European Journal of Pharmacology, 568, 112-123. PMID: 17477916.

Hart, N., Rocha, A., Miller, D. K., & Nation, J. R. (2010). Dose dependent attenuation of heroin self-administration with lobeline. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 1, 51-55. PMID: 20130110  PMCID: PMC2896235.

Miller, D. K., & Segert, I. L. (2005). Effect of mecamylamine on ephedrine-induced hyperactivity and hypophagia in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 81, 165-169. PMID: 15894075.

Miller, D. K., Crooks, P. A., Zheng, G., Grinevich, V. P., Norrholm, S. D., & Dwoskin, L. P. (2004). Lobeline analogs with enhanced affinity and selectivity for plasmalemma and vesicular monoamine transporters. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 310, 1035-1045. PMID: 15121762.

Miller, D. K., Dopheide, M. M., Smith, S. M., & Casteel, S. W. (2005). Dietary cadmium exposure attenuates d-amphetamine-evoked [3H]dopamine release from rat striatal slices and methamphetamine-induced hyperactivity in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 80, 557-566. PMID: 15820525.

Miller, D. K., Harrod, S. B., Green, T. A., Wong, M. Y., Bardo, M. T., & Dwoskin, L. P. (2002). Lobeline attenuates stimulation induced by repeated nicotine administration in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, 74, 279-286. PMID: 12479946.

Miller, D. K., Lever, J. R., Rodvelt, K. R., Baskett, J. A., Will, M. J., & Kracke, G. R. (2007). Lobeline, a potential pharmacotherapy for drug addiction, binds to μ opioid receptors and diminishes the effects of opioid receptor agonists. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 89, 282-291. PMID: 17368966.

Miller, D. K., Nation, J. R., & Bratton, G. R. (2001). The effects of perinatal exposure to lead on the discriminative stimulus properties of cocaine and related drugs in rats. Psychopharmacolgy, 158,165-174. PMID: 11702090.

Miller, D. K., Sumithran, S. P., & Dwoskin, L. P. (2002). Bupropion inhibits nicotine-evoked [3H] overflow from rat striatal slices preloaded with [3H]dopamine and from rat hippocampal slices preloaded with [3H]norepinephrine. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 302, 1113-1122. PMID: 12183670.

Miller, D. K., Wong, E. H. F., Chesnut, M. D., & Dwoskin, L. P. (2002). Reboxetine: Functional inhibition of monoamine transporters and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 302, 687-695. PMID: 12130733.

Polston, J. E., Cunningham, C. S., Rodvelt, K. R., & Miller, D. K. (2006). Lobeline potentiates and inhibits cocaine-induced hyperactivity in rats. Life Sciences, 79, 981-990. PMID: 16765386.

Wang, Q., Sun, A. Y., Simonyi, A., Miller, D. K., Smith, S. M., R. E., Luchtefeld, R. G., Korthuis, R. J., & Sun, G. Y. (2009). Oral administration of grape powder extract ameliorates cerebral ischemia/reperfusion-induced neuronal damage and behavioral deficits in gerbils: Comparison of pre- and post-ischemic administration. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 5, 369-377. PMID: 18602816  PMCID: PMC2718081.

2009 Curators of the University of Missouri. DMCA and other copyright information. An equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

For more information about the program, e-mail