Uri Shalev, PhD
Uri Shalev received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Tel Aviv University. After completing his postdoctoral training with Dr. Yavin Shaham at the National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH in 2002, he headed the behavioral laboratory in D-Pharm Ltd., Rehovot, Israel. At the same time, he was appointed a senior lecturer at the Academic College Tel Aviv-Yaffo. In 2004 he joined the Department of Psychology and the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology at Concordia University. He held a Canada Research Chair in Neurobiology of Drug Abuse (Tier II; 2004-2015).
Drug abuse, Relapse, Animal models, Behavioural neurobiology, Eating disorders
Using an animal model for drug self-administration, the research in my lab targets the brain mechanisms underlying the strikingly similar behaviors characterizing drug addiction and eating disorders. In addition, I am interested in the effects of early-life experiences on the development of mental disorders, susceptibility to drug abuse and eating disorders in the adult organism.
Drug abuse and eating disorders are having an increasing impact on Western Society. New and more effective treatments are only likely to be developed once the interaction between the neural systems that underlie these disorders are understood.
My research involves two main themes that are concerned with factors that promote and maintain substance abuse. The first arises from my previous work showing that food deprivation potently induced relapse to heroin and cocaine seeking in laboratory rats, and that this effect is attenuated by leptin, a hormone involved in appetite regulation and energy balance. These data indicate a link between substance abuse and eating control mechanisms. We use a model of food-restriction-induced relapse to drugs in rats that is based on the drug self-administration procedure. We then examine the brains of the manipulated rats in search of the mechanisms underlying the behavioral phenomena.
The second theme is concerned with the often-reported comorbidity of drug abuse with mental disorders, and more specifically, eating disorders. We are using activity-induce anorexia as a model for anorexia nervosa to study factors that affect vulnerability to drugs and natural rewards and identify changes in underlying neuromechanisms.
I am looking for enthusiastic candidates for the MA/PhD program that will join our team. For more information: http://www.concordia.ca/artsci/research/graduate-student-opportunities/psychology/ma-phd-behavioural-neurobiology-drug-use.html
My research has been funded by grants from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Canada Research Chairs program (CRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
Courses taught in recent years
PSYC 355 - Fundamentals of Behavioural Neurobiology
PSYC 450 - Neurobiology of Drug Abuse
PSYC 491 - Honours Seminar
PSYC 714 - Central Topics in Psychology