Kelly Cosgrove, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and of Neuroscience

Research Departments & Organizations

Psychiatry: Center for Nicotine and Tobacco Use Research at Yale (CENTURY) | Cosgrove Lab | Division of Women's Behavioral Health Research | Neuroscience Research Training Program (NRTP) | Psychology Section | Translational Brain Imaging Program | VA Alcohol Research Center | Yale Translational Center to Develop Gender-Sensitive Treatment for Tobacco Dependence

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

WHRY Pilot Project Program Investigators

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Interests

Alcoholism; alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor; Brain; Chemicals and Drugs; Diseases; Neurobiology; Neuroimaging; Nicotine; Opioid-Related Disorders; Positron-Emission Tomography; Psychiatry and Psychology; Radiology

Research Summary

We are using novel, creative PET paradigms to gain insight into the neurochemical mechanisms that drive addiction and psychiatric disorders. PET allows us to measure specific molecules in the living human brain. We are particularly interested in identifying deficits in the cholinergic and dopaminergic neurotransmitter systems in tobacco smokers and how these systems change during acute and prolonged abstinence from smoking. We are uncovering the variables, such as sex, neurocognitive function, psychiatric status and genetic makeup that influence these changes. We are also examining the neuroadaptations that occur during the recovery from alcohol dependence including changes in the GABA-ergic system, the neuroimmune system, and synaptic plasticity.

Specialized Terms: Positron Emission Tomography; Neuroimaging; Alcohol Dependence; Tobacco Smoking; Nicotine Dependence; Brain; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; GABAA-benzodiazepine receptor; Sex differences, Dopamine

Extensive Research Description

  • Understanding the functional basis and behavioral and cognitive correlates 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 glucocorticoid system.
  • Examination of sex differences in the dopaminergic signature of smoking- and nicotine-induced dopamine release using novel PET brain imaging techniques.
  • Understanding the role sex and hormonal status plays in brain changes in tobacco smokers.
  • Examining the stress and neuroimmune system with PET and the application to psychiatric disorders such as PTSD.

Clinical Trials

Conditions Study Title
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Mechanistic Evaluation of Guanfacine on Drinking Behavior
Addictive Behaviors, Alcohol Addiction, Mental Health & Behavioral Research Behavioral and Neurochemical Mechanisms Underlying Stress-Precipitated Drinking
Addictive Behaviors, Alcohol Addiction, Diseases of the Nervous System, Mental Health & Behavioral Research, Tobacco Addiction Imaging the Neurochemistry of Drug Addiction With PET
Diseases of the Nervous System, Mental Health & Behavioral Research Examination of Glutamate and mGluR5 in Psychiatric Disorders
Mental Health & Behavioral Research, Tobacco Addiction Imaging Tobacco Smoking Withdrawal using [11C]PHNO
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Imaging 11B-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase availability in vivo
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Evaluation of glutamate levels in adolescent mood disorders
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Imaging Microglial Activation in PTSD wITH PET
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Imaging mGluR5 and synaptic density in psychiatric disorders
Addictive Behaviors, Alcohol Addiction, Mental Health & Behavioral Research, Tobacco Addiction Determining Eligibility for Neuroimaging Research Studies
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Brain Imaging and Function
Mental Health & Behavioral Research Imaging SV2A in mood disorders
Addictive Behaviors PET Imaging of mGLuR5 With Drug Challenge
Mental Health & Behavioral Research, Tobacco Addiction Acetylcholine, Tobacco Smoking, Genes and Nicotinic Receptors (nic_physo)

Selected Publications

See list of PubMed publications

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