Kathleen Kantak

Ph.D., Syracuse University
2 Cummington Mall, Room 205

Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, BU College of Arts & Sciences

Research Interests

Dr. Katnak’s current research focuses on cognitive aspects of addiction-related behavior. Her overall goal is to conduct translational research using trans-species behavioral models of cognition and drug abuse and to interface her work with that of neurobiologists to understand mechanisms and with that of clinicians to improve drug addiction treatment outcomes.

Using intravenous drug self-administration procedures in rats, Dr. Kantak has investigated how multiple memory systems regulate drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior as well as how drug exposure influences the neurocognitive functioning of multiple memory systems. In addition, she spearheaded the effort to develop animal protocols that model exposure therapy targeting drug-related cues in clinical populations. She incorporates cognitive-enhancing pharmacotherapy and brief interventions with environmental enrichment or targeted cognitive training to improve extinction learning for relapse prevention. Within the context of these studies, she and her collaborators elaborate the neurosubstrates and neuroplasticity changes associated with these therapeutic strategies as well as translate these approaches to nonhuman primates and human subjects. In another line of research, Dr. Kantak evaluates frontostriatal and medial temporal lobe neurocognitive deficits in rats with an Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder phenotype. Focusing on the adolescent developmental period, she evaluates the response of rats with an ADHD phenotype to stimulant and non-stimulant medications, particularly in terms of comorbidity between ADHD and later vulnerability to drug addiction.

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