Kelly P Cosgrove, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, of Diagnostic Radiology and of Neurobiology

Research Interests

Diseases; Chemicals and Drugs; Psychiatry and Psychology

Research Organizations

Positron Emission Tomography

Psychiatry: Center for Nicotine and Tobacco Use Research at Yale (CENTURY) | VA Alcohol Research Center | Women's Behavioral Health Research, Division of | Yale Translational Center to Develop Gender-Sensitive Treatment for Tobacco Dependence

Research Summary

Our laboratory is interested in examining the neurochemical and molecular basis of addiction and psychiatric disorders using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging. We have been interested in the modulation of the beta2-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor during acute and prolonged abstinence in tobacco smokers. We are beginning to uncover the variables, such as sex, psychiatric status and genetic makeup that influence these changes between individuals and groups. Additionally we are examining the cognitive changes that occur upon smoking cessation and we have begun to delineate the effects of various nicotine replacement strategies on cognition and the relationship with receptor occupancy.

Extensive Research Description

We are also examining the interaction of tobacco smoking, nicotine, and alcohol at the GABAA-benzodiazepine receptor over the course of alcohol withdrawal in clinical populations and with a preclinical model. We are interested specifically in how nicotine and tobacco smoke modulate the alcohol-induced changes in GABAA-benzodiazepine receptor availability, which is critically tied to the alcohol withdrawal syndrome. In addition we are interested in the relationship between receptor availability and behavioral characteristics, such as executive function, severity of withdrawal, and alcohol history.


  • Understanding the genetic basis of the changes in beta2*-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor availability during acute and prolonged abstinence in tobacco smokers.
  • Examining the changes in GABAA-benzodiazepine receptor availability that occur during acute and prolonged abstinence from alcohol and nicotine dependence.
  • Radiotracer development targeted at the estrogen receptor and the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor.
  • Examination of nicotine-induced dopamine release using PET brain imaging.
  • Understanding the role sex and hormonal status plays in brain changes in tobacco smokers.
  • Test-Retest Reproducibility of {11C} PHNO PET using the Constant Infusion Paradigm.

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Kelly P Cosgrove, PhD
Office Location
VA Connecticut Healthcare
950 Campbell Avenue, Ste Suite 116A6

West Haven, CT 06516
Mailing Address
Department of Psychiatry300 George St
New Haven, CT 06511-

Cosgrove Lab