Woodward Neuroscience Lab

Research in the Woodward lab focuses on identifying adaptations in neural processes and circuits following repeated exposures to drugs of abuse. We use a combination of electrophysiological, behavioral , imaging and genetic techniques to accomplish the aims of this research.

Alcohol and NMDARs

NIAAA grant R37 AA009986. This grant is focused on understanding the interactions of ethanol with NMDA receptors-ionotropic glutamate receptors involved in excitatory synaptic transmission. We use mutagenesis, electrophysiology and behavior to study how altering the ethanol sensitivity of NMDA receptors changes the brain's response to alcohol. 

Representative figures from some of our work are shown below.

Abused Inhalants and Addiction Neurocircuitry

NIDA grant R01 AA013951. This grant supports research focused on understanding the actions of abused inhalants such as toluene on the addiction neurocircuitry of the brain. Inhalants are an under-studied drug of abuse and have a relatively high incidence of use among children and adolescents. This works uses in vitro and in vivo techniques to determine how toluene and other inhalants affect cortical and sub-cortical areas involved in cognition and reward.

Representative figures from some of our work are shown below.

Alcohol and the Frontal Cortex

NIAAA grant P50 AA010761. This grant is a component of our P50 Alcohol Center. A combination of in vivo ethanol exposure, slice electrophysiology, imaging and behavioral approaches are used to define the actions of ethanol on neurons located in the prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex.

Representative figures from some of our work are shown below.

Collaborative Neuroscience Research

NIAAA grant U01014095. This grant (PI; Dr. Patrick Mulholland) is one of eight projects organized within the Integrated Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism consortium (INIA-Stress). We collaborate with Dr. Mulholland's lab and examine the effects of long-term drinking on neuronal gene and protein expression and function in mice and non-human primates. 

Representative figures from some of our work are shown below.

Research Training Opportunities

Laboratory Research Positions

Please contact me if you are a pre-doctoral or post-doctoral fellow interested in studying the actions of alcohol and abused inhalants on brain ion channels.

Some of the techniques currently in use in the lab include:

Patch-clamp electrophysiology combined with mutagenesis to study wild-type and recombinant ion channels expressed in transfected HEK cells

Patch-clamp recording of neuronal activity in brain slices, slice cultures and dissociated neurons

In vivo imaging techniques using Cre-mediated expression of calcium and glutamate sensors such as GCaMPs and iGluSnFr

Expression of optogenetic and DREADD constructs via viral vectors for input specific control of neuronal activity combined with operant based behaviors to assess circuit-level control of alcohol and abused inhalant use

If you are interested in applying for a position, send me an email (woodward@musc.edu) containing your CV and the names of three references and a brief description of your research experience and interests.

NIH Funded Training Fellowship Positions
MUSC holds NIH sponsored training grants from both NIDA (drug abuse) and NIAAA (alcohol) that offer individuals advanced training in research related to addiction. Dr. Woodward (woodward@musc.edu) serves as Director of the NIAAA Training Grant and Dr. McGinty (mcginty@musc.edu) is Training Director for the NIDA Training Grant. Contact either one of us for more information on how to apply for a Research Fellowship in Addiction Research.

Note: NIH funded training grant positions are open to US citizens or permanent residents only. NIH funded research grant do not have a citizenship eligibility rule but do require the appropriate visa.

Lab Personnel

Neuroscience Graduate Students

Abby Kastner

Research Techs, Post-docs and Faculty

Michael Okas, Research Specialist I

Sudarat Roberts (Nimitvilai), Ph.D.; Post-doctoral fellow nimitvil@musc.edu

Paula Zamudio-Bulcock, Ph.D.; Post-doctoral fellow zamudiob@musc.edu

Dominic Gioia, Ph.D.; Post-doctoral fellow

John J. Woodward, Ph.D.; Professor

Lab Alumni and Former Trainees
Kevin Braunscheidel, PhD
Wes Wayman, PhD
Carolina den Hartog, PhD
Ben Hughes, PhD
Jacob Beckley, PhD
Corigan Smothers, PhD
Matthew Pava, PhD
Minfu Xu, PhD
Carl Weitlauf, PhD
Patrick Mulholland, PhD
Katherine Chike-Harris, D.N.P
Chun Jin, MD
Yali Tu, MD
Ambuja Bale, PhD
Doug Anders, PhD
Kim Ronald, PhD
Tooraj Mirshahi, PhD
Amy Stout, PhD
Angelo del Ray, MS, MD
Ahmed Khaldi, MS, MD
Rick Tillar, MS


30 Courtenay Drive
Thurmond-Gazes 627B
Charleston, SC 29425


Email: woodward@musc.edu        
Phone: (843) 792-5225
Fax: (843) 792-7353

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