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Sunmee Wee, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular Therapeutics
Florida Campus
(561) 228-3487

Research Focus

Our lab research focuses on the neurobiology of drug addiction and comorbid psychiatric disorders. The current research tests the role of the 5-HT1A receptor system in comorbid depression and cocaine addiction using a rodent model of cocaine self-administration.  Additionally, we plan to identify factors that control the raphe 5-HT neurons and their roles in drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms.  Our immediate future interests are the raphe 5-HT1A R-GIRK (G-protein regulated inwardly rectifying K+) channel signaling and corticotropin releasing factor receptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus in addiction and comorbid depression. Our lab employs behavioral and molecular techniques, intravenous and intracranial catheterization and transgenic mouse models.   


B.S., Pharmacy, Chonnam National University, South Korea
M.S., Neuropharmacology, Chonnam National University, South Korea
Ph.D., Neuropsychopharmacology, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Awards & Professional Activities

1. Induction into the Honorary Society of Phi Kappa Phi, 2001
2. Harcourt Health Science Physiology Award, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2002
3. Graduate Student Best Paper Award, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), 2004
4. Graduate Student Travel Award, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), 2004
5. Graduate Student Seminar Award, The Society for Neuroscience, 2004
6. Graduate Research Award, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2005
7. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Travel Award, Motivational Neuronal Network Conference (MNN), France 2007
8. Early Career Investigator Award, College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) 2008
9. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Career Development K99 Award, 2009
10. American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Travel Award, 2011

Selected References

Mazei-Robison MS, Appasani R, Edwards S, Wee S, Taylor SR, Picciotto MR, Koob GF, Nestler EJ (2014) Self-administration of ethanol, cocaine or nicotine does not decrease the soma size of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons. PLoS One (in press)

Kallupi M, Wee S, Edwards S, Whitfield Jr. TW, Oleata CS, Luu G, Koob GF, and Roberto M (2013) Kappa Opioid Receptor-Mediated Dysregulation of GABAergic Transmission in the Central Amygdala in Cocaine Addiction. Biological Psychiatry 74:520-528.

Robison A, Vialou V, Mazei-Robison M, Feng J, Kourrich S, Collins M, Wee S, Koob G, Turecki G, Neve R, Thomas M, Nestler E (2013) Behavioral and Structural Responses to Chronic Cocaine Require a Feed-Forward Loop Involving DFosB and CaMKII in the Nucleus Accumbens Shell. J. Neurosci. 33:4295-4307

Wee S, Vendruscolo LF, Misra K, Schlosburg JE, Koob GF (2012) Buprenorphine and Naltrexone Combination Blocks Compulsive Cocaine Intake In A Rodent Model. Sci. Transl. Med. 4, 146ra110

Wee S., Hicks M.J., De B.P., Rosenberg J.B., Moreno A.Y., Janda K.D., Kaminsky S.M., Crystal R.G., Koob G.F. (2012) Novel Cocaine Vaccine Linked to a Disrupted Adenovirus Gene Transfer Vector Blocks Cocaine Psychostimulant and Reinforcing Effects. Neuropsychopharmacology 37:1083-1091

Koob G, Hicks M, Wee S, Rosenberg J, De BP, Kaminksy SM, Moreno A, Janda KD, Crystal RG (2011) Anti-Cocaine Vaccine Based on Coupling a Cocaine Analog to a Disrupted Adenovirus. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets 10:899-904

Baumann MH, Woolverton WL, Wee S, Blough BE, Rothman RB (2011) In Vivo Effects of Amphetamine Analogs Reveal Evidence for Serotonergic Inhibition of Mesolimbic Dopamine Transmission in the Rat. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 337:218-225

Wee S, Koob GF (2010) The role of the dynorphin-kappa opioid system in the reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse. Psychopharmacology 210: 121-135

Wee S, Orio L, Ghirmai S, Cashman J, Koob GF (2009) Inhibition of kappa opioid receptors attenuates increased cocaine intake in rats with extended access. Psychopharmacology 205: 565-575

George O, Mandyam CD, Wee S, Koob GF (2008) Extended Access to Cocaine Self-Administration Produces Long-Lasting Prefrontal Cortex-Dependent Working Memory Impairments. Neuropsychopharmacology 33:2474-248

Wee S, Mandyam C, Lekic DE, Koob GF (2008) Alpha1-noradrenergic system role in increased motivation for cocaine intake in rats with prolonged access. European Neuropsychopharmacology 18: 303-311

Mandyam CD, Wee S, Eisch AJ, Richardson HN and Koob GF (2007) Methamphetamine self-administration and voluntary exercise have opposing effects on medial prefrontal cortex gliogenesis. J. Neurosci. 27: 11442-11450

Treweek J, Wee S, Koob GF, Dickerson TJ, Janda KD (2007) Self-vaccination by methamphetamine glycation products chemically links chronic drug abuse and cardiovascular disease. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 104:11580-11584

Wee S, Specio SE, Koob GF (2007) Effects of dose and session duration on the rate of cocaine self-administration. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 320:1134-1143

Wee S, Anderson KG, Bauman M, Rothman R, Woolverton WL (2005) Relationship between the serotonergic activity and reinforcing effects of a series of amphetamine analogs. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 313:1-7