Alan S Lewis, MD, PhD

Resident Psychiatry; Lecturer in Psychiatry; Neuroscience Research Training Program Fellow

Research Summary

Impulsive aggressive behavior can complicate severe forms of many different neuropsychiatric disorders across the lifespan, resulting in impaired function and institutionalization. Current treatments for impulsive aggression include behavioral and pharmacological approaches, though for some patients these are ineffective or confer substantial side effects. My research uses mouse models to identify brain regions and neural circuits that are important regulators of aggressive behavior, as well as mechanisms to selectively modulate the activity of these regions and circuits. To this end, we are studying how nicotinic acetylcholine receptors govern aggression-related neurocircuitry, with a focus on the hippocampal formation. Concurrent with our basic scientific studies, we are studying the effects of transdermal nicotine on aggression and related behaviors in adults with autism spectrum disorder who have persistent aggression that interferes with their lives. The goal of this translational study is to determine the tolerability and potential efficacy of a nicotinic receptor therapy for an aggression indication and support future studies using more specific nicotinic pharmacotherapies.   

Selected Publications

Full List of PubMed Publications

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