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The Taffe Laboratory

Taffe Laboratory 2.0

Following 19 years of operation at The Scripps Research Institute, the Taffe Laboratory has moved to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, effective April 1, 2019.


Laboratory Home

Research in the Taffe Laboratory [ PubMed ] focuses on the effects of recreational or abused drugs on the brain and the resulting changes in behavior. We have a current interest in the compulsive use of drugs with a focus on factors involved in the transition from casual to repetitive drug use, as well as on novel therapeutic approaches using the immune system. Additional studies focus on the acute and lasting impact of recreational drug exposure on behavior and physiology.

Curent projects in the laboratory focus on the substituted cathinones (including 3,4-methylnedioxypyrovalerone; MDPV, mephedrone and methylone), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or "Ecstasy"), methamphetamine, cannabis and opioids.

Compulsive Drug Use, Addiction and Dependence

Addiction to several classes of psychoactive drugs, from opioids such as oxycodone and heroin, to cannabis, to psychomotor stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine and novel cathinone derivatives ("bath salts") interferes with numerous aspects of personal health, vocational performance, interpersonal relationships and financial well being. Behavioral consequences of stimulant abuse and the illicit drug trade also strain legal and emergency medical resources throughout the US. Current therapeutic approaches for addiction are less than completely effective (no approved pharmacotherapies for methamphetamine or cocaine addiction exist) and additional research is necessary to identify new avenues for medication development.

Recent successes in early clinical trials using immunotherapeutic approaches for cocaine and nicotine addiction have motivated interest in creating similar vaccines for methamphetamine addiction.

Research areas:

Discussion of scientific issues and papers related to our work can be found at the TLNeuro Blog.

The Taffe Lab is affiliated with: