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Michael Taffe, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Committee On The Neurobiology Of Addictive Disorders
California Campus
Laboratory Website
Scripps VIVO Scientific Profile
(858) 784-7228

Research Focus

Behavioral toxicity of abused drugs
        Behavioral toxicity research in the Taffe Laboratory centers on brain mechanisms which contribute to cognitive function and complex behavior with a focus on toxic insults caused by recreational drug use. We have developed a model in which rhesus monkeys are trained to perform multiple behavioral tasks which can concurrently evaluate a number of cognitive domains, including learning, memory, attention and motor performance. Current interests focus on the adolescent developmental window and the drugs such as alcohol, cannabis and Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) that are popular with adolescent humans.

Transition to the compulsive use of club drugs
       Compulsive use research in the Taffe Laboratory focuses on psychomotor stimulant class drugs that are popular in the nightclub / rave dance environment including methamphetamine, MDMA (Ecstasy) and mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone). Our goal is to determine how specific exposure patterns, environments (crowded dance clubs) and cofactors such as sustained activity (dancing) may cause brain changes that support the development of compulsive use.


B.A., Psychology, Colorado College, 1990
M.A., Psychology, University of California, San Diego, 1992
Ph.D., Psychology, University of California, San Diego, 1995

Professional Experience

1990-1995 Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology; University of California, San Diego; La Jolla, CA (Dr. Gordon Baylis)
1995-1996 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry; University of California, San Diego; La Jolla, CA (Dr. Stephen Foote)
1996-2000 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Neuropharmacology The Scripps Research Institute; La Jolla, CA(Dr. Lisa Gold)

Selected References

All Publications

Miller, M.L., Vaillancourt, B.D., Wright Jr., M.J., Aarde, S.M., Vandewater, S.A., Creehan, K.M. and Taffe, M.A. Reciprocal inhibitory effects of intravenous d-methamphetamine self-administration and wheel activity in rats, Drug Alcohol Depend, 2012, 121:90-96

Gilpin, N.W., Wright Jr., M.J., Dickinson, G., Vandewater, S.A., Price. J.U., and Taffe, M.A. Influences of activity wheel access on the body temperature response to MDMA and Methamphetamine, Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 2011 99(3):295-300

Crean, R.D., Vandewater, S.A., Katner, S.N., Huitron-Resendiz, S., and Taffe, M.A. Chronic alcohol consumption impairs visuo-spatial associative memory in periadolescent Rhesus monkeys, Drug Alc Depend, 2011 114:31-40.

Taffe, M.A., Kotzebue, R.W., Crean, R.D., Crawford, E.F., Edwards, S. and Mandyam, C.D. Long-lasting reduction in hippocampal neurogenesis by alcohol consumption in adolescent nonhuman primates, Proc Nat Acad Sci, 2010, 107(24):11104-11109

Von Huben, S.N., Lay, C.C., Crean, R.D., Davis, S.A., Katner, S.N. and Taffe M.A. Impact of ambient temperature on hyperthermia induced by (±)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in rhesus macaques, Neuropsychopharmacology, 2007, 32(3):673-681.

Weed, M.R., Gold, L.H., Polis, I., Koob, G.F., Fox, H.S. and Taffe M.A. Impaired performance on a rhesus monkey neuropsychological testing battery following simian immunodeficiency virus infection, AIDS Res Hum Ret, 2004, 20(1):77-89.

Taffe, M.A., Davis, S.A., Yuan, J., Schroeder, R., Hatzidimitriou, G., Parsons, L.H., Ricaurte, G.A., and Gold, L.H. Cognitive performance of MDMA-treated rhesus monkeys: Sensitivity to serotonergic challenge, Neuropsychopharmacology, 2002 27(6):993-1005.