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Psychopharmacology | Lab Members

Jennifer Cobuzzi

jc9378a@american.edu

Curriculum Vitae


I am a fifth year PhD student in the Psychopharmacology Laboratory at American University. Here, we investigate the relative contribution of the rewarding and aversive subjective effects of abused drugs on the overall abuse liability of a compound. It is the balance of these effects that is thought to mediate overall drug use and abuse. My past work has focused on the assessment of strain differences in response to challenges to the opioid system. Specifically, I have utilized two inbred strains of rats (Fischer 344 and Lewis) that display differential immune reactivity, stress reactivity as well as responsivity to a number of drugs of abuse including nicotine, ethanol and morphine, with the Lewis rats finding these compounds less aversive than the Fischer 344 rats. I have compared these strains and their differential reactivity to the aversive effects of chronic morphine exposure and subsequent spontaneous withdrawal, utilizing the Conditioned Taste Aversion (CTA) preparation, providing further insight into drug use and abuse vulnerability, as a function of the rewarding and aversive effects of the compound itself.

My recent work is focused on how age modulates the aversive subjective effects of abused compounds, specifically the sympathomimetic, (+/-) 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; “Ecstasy”) in outbred rats. Considerable neurobiological development occurs during adolescence, changing the manner in which drug administration is perceived. Interestingly, adolescent animals appear relatively insensitive to the aversive effects of a number of abused drugs, specifically amphetamine, cocaine, THC and morphine, when compared to their adult counterparts. It is this reactivity that is thought to contribute to higher abuse vulnerability in adolescent populations. Given that MDMA is a popular drug among adolescent humans, with its overall use increasing in past years as well as “perceived risk” decreasing in the same timeline, pre-clinical investigations of age differences are of importance. MDMA administration is correlated with transporter-mediated release of monoamines, and differences in monoamine levels in discrete brain regions of adolescent and adult rats are of interest. My work will be utilizing High Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled with Electrochemical Detection (HPLC-ED) to investigate possible neurochemical differences between adolescent and adult rats and their possible role in the mediation of behavioral age differences in response to MDMA administration.

PUBLICATIONS

Merluzzi, AP, Hurwitz, ZE, Briscione, MA, Cobuzzi, JL, Wetzell, B, Rice, KC, Riley, AL. The differential expression of MDPV-induced taste aversions, thermoregulation and brain amine levels in adolescent and adult rats: A behavioral and neurochemical assessment of “bath salts” (in preparation).

Hurwitz, ZE, Cobuzzi, JL, Merluzzi, AP, Wetzell, B, Riley, AL. Age and strain differences in morphine-induced taste aversions: A behavioral and neurochemical assessment (in preparation).

Wetzell, B, Muller, MM, Cobuzzi, JL, Hurwitz, ZE, Decicco-Skinner, KL, Riley, AL. Age-dependent differences in methylphenidate-induced conditioned taste aversions and related BDNF/TrkB signaling (in preparation).

Cobuzzi, JL, Siletti, KA, Hurwitz, ZE, Wetzell, B, Baumann, MH, Riley, AL. Age differences in (±)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-induced conditioned taste aversions and monoaminergic activity. Dev Psychobiol (under review).

Desko, AG, Cobuzzi, JL, Riley, AL. Naloxone-induced taste aversions in opiate-naïve Fischer 344 and Lewis rats. Drug Alcohol Depend 2012;122:152-5.

Davis, CM, Cobuzzi, JL, & Riley, AL. Assessment of the aversive effects of peripheral mu opioid receptor agonism in Fischer 344 and Lewis rats. Pharmacol, Biochem Behav 2012;101:181-6. [PDF]

Desko, AG, Cobuzzi, JL, & Riley, AL. Naloxone-induced taste aversions in opiate-naïve Lewis and Fischer 344 rats. Drug and Alcohol Depend 2012;122:152-5. [PDF]

Cobuzzi, JL & Riley, AL. Review of Memory phenomena and conditioned taste aversion by Meehan, S. M. & Riccio, D. C. for the Conditioned Taste Aversion Learning Database 2011. [PDF]

Cobuzzi, JL & Riley, AL. Spontaneous withdrawal in opiate-dependent Fischer 344, Lewis, and Sprague-Dawley rats. Pharmacol, Biochem Behav 2011;98:28-34. [PDF]

CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

Poster Presentations

 

Hurwitz, ZE, Cobuzzi, JL, Merluzzi, AP, Wetzell, B, Riley, AL. (2013, June). Age and strain differences in morphine-induced taste aversions: A behavioral and neurochemical assessment. Poster to be presented at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence 75th Meeting, San Diego, CA.

Cobuzzi, JL, Siletti, KA, Hurwitz, ZE, Wetzell, B, Baumann, MH, Riley, AL. (2013, June). Age differences in (±)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-induced conditioned taste aversions and monoaminergic activity. Poster to be presented at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence 75th Meeting, San Diego, CA.

Merluzzi, AP, Hurwitz, ZE, Briscione, MA, Cobuzzi, JL, Wetzell, B, Rice, KC, Riley, AL. (2013, April). The differential expression of MDPV-induced taste aversions, thermoregulation and brain amine levels in adolescent and adult rats: A behavioral and neurochemical assessment of “bath salts”. Poster to be presented at ASPET’s Experimental Biology Conference, Boston, MA.

Cobuzzi, JL, Siletti, KA, Hurwitz, ZE, Wetzell, B, Baumann, MH, Riley, AL. (2013, March). Age differences in (±)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-induced conditioned taste aversions and monoaminergic activity. Poster presented at the 23rd annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference, American University, Washington, DC.

Hurwitz, ZE, Cobuzzi, JL, Merluzzi, AP, Wetzell, B, Riley, AL. (2013, March). Age and strain differences in morphine-induced taste aversions: A behavioral and neurochemical assessment. Poster presented at the 23rd annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference, American University, Washington, DC.

Merluzzi, AP, Hurwitz, ZE, Briscione, MA, Cobuzzi, JL, Wetzell, B, Rice, KC, Riley, AL. (2013, March). The differential expression of MDPV-induced taste aversions, thermoregulation and brain amine levels in adolescent and adult rats: A behavioral and neurochemical assessment of “bath salts”. Poster presented at Behavior, Biology and Chemistry, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX.

Siletti, KA, Cobuzzi, JL, Hurwitz, ZE, Wetzell, B, Riley, AL. (2012, October). Age-dependent differences in (±)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-induced conditioned taste aversions. Poster presented at the Discover the Sciences event sponsored by American University’s Scientific Advisory Council, Washington, DC.

Merluzzi, AP, Hurwitz, ZE, Briscione, MA, Cobuzzi, JL, Wetzell, B, Rice, KC, Riley, AL. (2012, October). Age-dependent differences in MDPV-induced taste aversions and thermoregulation: A behavioral and neurochemical assessment of “bath salts”. Poster presented at the Discover the Sciences event sponsored by American University’s Scientific Advisory Council, Washington, DC.

Muller, MM, Wetzell, B, Cobuzzi, JL, Hurwitz, ZE, Riley, AL. (2012, October). Age-dependent differences in methylphenidate-induced conditioned taste aversions. Poster presented at the Discover the Sciences event sponsored by American University’s Scientific Advisory Council, Washington, DC.

Cobuzzi, JL, Siletti, KA, Riley, AL. (2012, June). Effect of morphine pretreatment on naloxone-induced conditioned taste aversions. Poster presented at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence 74th Meeting, Palm Springs, CA.

Cobuzzi, JL, Davis CM, Riley, AL. (2012, March). Assessment of the aversive effects of peripheral mu opioid agonism in Fischer 344 and Lewis rats. Poster presented at the 22nd annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference, American University, Washington, DC.

Cobuzzi, JL, Davis, CM, Rice, KC, Riley, AL. (2011, November). Opioid receptor mediation of morphine’s discriminative stimulus effects in the inbred Fischer 344 and Lewis rat strains. Poster presented at the Society for Stimulus Properties of Drugs Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.

Cobuzzi, JL, Riley, AL. (2011, August). Spontaneous withdrawal in opiate-dependent Fischer 344, Lewis and Sprague-Dawley rats. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Early Career Investigator Session, Washington, DC.

Desko, AG, Cobuzzi, JL, Riley, AL. (2011, August). Naloxone-induced conditioned taste aversions in opiate-naïve Fischer 344 and Lewis rats. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Early Career Investigator Session, Washington, DC.

Cobuzzi, JL, Riley, AL. (2011, June). Spontaneous withdrawal in opiate-dependent Fischer 344, Lewis and Sprague-Dawley rats. Poster presented at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence 73rd Meeting, Hollywood, FL.

Desko, AG, Cobuzzi, JL, Riley, AL. (2011, June). Naloxone-induced conditioned taste aversions in opiate-naïve Fischer 344 and Lewis rats. Poster presented at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence 73rd Meeting, Hollywood, FL.

Cobuzzi, JL, Riley, AL. (2011, April). Spontaneous withdrawal in opiate-dependent Fischer 344, Lewis and Sprague-Dawley rats. Poster presented at the 21st annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference, American University, Washington, DC.

Davis, CM, Cobuzzi, JL, Riley, AL. (2010, June). Loperamide-induced taste aversions in F344 and LEW rats: Assessment of peripheral opioid activation. Poster presented at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence 72nd Meeting, Scottsdale, AZ.

Westerman, AT, Cobuzzi, JL, Gomez-Serrano, MA. (2009, April). The effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; “Ecstasy”) on male rat sexual behavior. Poster presented at the 19th annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference, American University, Washington, DC.

Zellner, DA, Cobuzzi, JL. (2008, August). Hedonic assimilation with simultaneous stimulus presentation. International Society for Psychophysics 24th Meeting, Toronto, Canada.

Cobuzzi, JL, Zellner, DA. (2008, March). Hedonic assimilation or contrast with simultaneous stimulus presentation. Poster presented at the Eastern Psychological Association 79th Meeting, Boston, MA.

Oral Presentations

Merluzzi, AP, Hurwitz, ZE, Briscione, MA, Cobuzzi, JL, Wetzell, B, Rice, KC, Riley, AL. (2013, March). The differential expression of MDPV-induced taste aversions, thermoregulation and brain amine levels in adolescent and adult rats: A behavioral and neurochemical assessment of “bath salts”. Oral presentation at the 23rd annual Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student Research Conference, American University, Washington, DC.

Cobuzzi, JL. (2012, July). Introduction to sensation and perception. Guest Lecture for PSYC 115: Psychology as a Natural Science, American University, Washington, DC.