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Psychopharmacology | Lab Members

Jennifer Rinker

jennifer.rinker@american.edu

Currently, my research focuses on the examination of the two most commonly co-used psychoactive substances, nicotine and alcohol. I am interested in the behavioral, biological and pharmacological factors that might potentially mediate their co-use, and how changes in the rewarding and/or aversive properties of either drug might contribute to the overall reinforcing value of the combination. Because the majority of smokers begin their habit during adolescence, I am particularly interested in using preclinical models to examine the effects of nicotine exposure during this sensitive developmental period on the affective properties of alcohol in adulthood. As well, I am interested in examining the interaction of nicotine and alcohol at the receptor level using pharmacological manipulations (i.e., specific nAChR agonists/antagonists), as well as examining changes in receptor levels, neural activation and neurochemical activity using various neurochemical techniques (i.e., in situ hybridization, IHC/ICC, qRT-PCR and HPLC) to elucidate the biological factors regulating their co-use. In addition to nicotine and alcohol, I am, in general, interested in drugs used in combination, as well as other individual characteristics that may be militating factors for drug use and dependence (i.e., the effects of sex, strain, age, and drug history).


Publications

Rinker, J.A., Hutchison, M.A., Chen, S.A., Thorsell, A., Heilig, M., & Riley, A.L. Exposure to nicotine during periadolescence alters the aversive and physiological effects induced by ethanol in adulthood. (Manuscript in prep).

Rinker, J.A., Dramadzic, R., Thorsell, A., Heilig, M., & Riley, A.L. Exposure to nicotine during periadolescence increases ethanol consumption in adulthood. (Manuscript in prep).

Rinker, J.A., Dramadzic, R., Thorsell, A., Heilig, M., & Riley, A.L. The effects of nicotine exposure during early adulthood on the aversive and physiological effects of ethanol and the expression of mRNA for the immediate early gene c-fos induced by ethanol in the VTA. (Manuscript in prep).

Roma, P.G., Rinker, J.A., Serafine, K.M., Chen, S.A., Barr, C.S., Cheng, K., Rice, K.C., & Riley, A.L. Genetic and early environmental contributions to alcohol’s aversive and physiological effects. Pharmacology, Biochemistry &  Behavior, 2008; 91: 134-139.

Rinker, J.A., Busse, G.D., Roma, P.G., Chen, S.A., Barr, C.S., & Riley, A.L. The effects of nicotine on ethanol-induced conditioned taste aversions in Long Evans rats. Psychopharmacology, 2008; 197: 409-419.

Rinker, J.A., Busse, G.D., & Riley, A.L. An assessment of sex differences in nicotine-induced conditioned taste aversions. Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior, 2008; 88: 427-431.


Presentations

Invited Talks

Albaugh, D.A., Rinker, J.A. & Riley, A.L. (June 2009). The effects of MDMA preexposure on MDMA-induced taste aversions. College on the Problems of Drug Dependence, Reno, NV.

Rinker, J.A., Busse, G.D., & Riley, A.L. (October 2006). Sex differences in the aversive properties of nicotine: assessment of nicotine-induced taste aversions. Society for Neurosciences, Atlanta, GA.

Poster Presentations

Rinker, J.A., & Riley, A.L. (June 2010) Exposure  to nicotine during periadolescence impacts the reinforcing effects of alcohol  in adulthood. College on the Problems of Drug Dependence, Scottsdale, AZ. 

Verendeev, A., Rinker, J.A.,  & Riley, A.L. (May, 2010) Assessment of the effects of stress
during adolescence on the rewarding and aversive effects of morphine in adulthood. 4th Annual Conference for Student Research on Addictions, Infectious Disease, and Public Health at John Hopkins, Baltimore, MD.

Rinker, J.A., Hutchison, M.A., Thorsell, A., Heilig, M., & Riley, A.L. (October 2009) Nicotine preexposure affects the aversive and physiological effects of alcohol in rats. Society for Neurosciences, Chicago, IL.

Rinker, J.A., Hutchison, M.A., Chen, S.A., Heilig, M., & Riley, A.L. (June 2009) The effects of nicotine preexposure during adolescence on the aversive effects of alcohol in adulthood. College on the Problems of Drug Dependence, Reno, NV.

Rinker, J.A., Hutchison, M.A., & Riley, A.L. (April 2009) The effects of nicotine preexposure during adolescence on the aversive effects of alcohol in adulthood. Robin Rafferty Mathias College of Arts and Sciences Student Research Conference.

Rinker, J.A., Serafine, K.M., Roma, P.G., Cheng, K., Rice, K.C., & Riley, A.L. (June 2008). Effects of norBNI on the self-administration of ethanol in cross- and in-fostered Lewis and Fischer female rats. College on Problems of Drug Dependence, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Rinker, J.A., Serafine, K.M., Roma, P.G., Cheng, K., Rice, K.C., & Riley, A.L. (March 2008). Effects of norBNI on the self-administration of ethanol in cross- and in-fostered Lewis and Fischer female rats. Robin Rafferty Mathias College of Arts and Sciences Student Research Conference.

Serafine, K.M., Rinker, J.A., Roma, P.G., Cheng, K., Rice, K.C., & Riley, A.L. (June 2008). Effects of norBNI on ethanol-induced conditioned taste aversions in both in- and cross-fostered Lewis and Fischer female rats. College on Problems of Drug Dependence, San Juan Puerto Rico.

Rinker, J.A., Busse, G.D. & Riley, A.L. (June 2007). The effects of nicotine on ethanol-induced conditioned taste aversions. College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Quebec City, Canada.

Jennifer Rinker