Lab Members

Principal Investigator

  • Sachin Patel, MD, PhD

    James G. Blakemore Professor
    Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
    Division of Addiction Psychiatry
    Office Address
    MRBIV (Langford)
    Room / Suite

    I graduated with a B.S. in Biological Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1998. In 2006, I graduated from a Medical Scientist Training Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin and then began my adult clinical psychiatry residency training at Vanderbilt University, which I completed in 2010. Since then, I have developed and manage a translational neuroscience research laboratory aimed at elucidating the neurobiological mechanisms of central stress responses relevant to stress- and trauma-related psychiatric disorders. Our lab is specifically interested in the role of endogenous cannabinoids as mediators of stress resiliency and have extramurally funded research projects in areas of endocannabinoid synaptic biology, endocannabinoid-based therapeutics development, and investigation of circuit-level mechanisms by which endocannabinoids promote resiliency to stress. We are also interested in understanding how plant-derived cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol, regulate affective behavior and stress responses in light of the growing use of medical cannabis by patients with a verity of psychiatric disorders including PTSD, addiction, and depression. 

Post Doctoral Fellows

  • Amanda Morgan, Ph.D.

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

    My project involves investigating how the endocannabinoid (eCB) system can be pharmacologically managed to improve mood and relieve stress. Specifically, my work focuses on cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) and how this enzyme contributes to the modulation of mood and stress. Cox-2 is an inducible enzyme which inactivates neuronal eCBs. Cox-2 acts to reduce eCB levels in the brain and can be targeted pharmacologically to regulate stress responses and anxiety-like behaviors in mice. Using both pharmacological and genetic approaches to build on previous work in our lab, my research shows that Cox-2 substrate-selective inhibitors can exert anxiolytic effects following stress exposure. My ongoing research uses behavioral, pharmacological, genetic, and functional neuroanatomical methods as well as mass spectrometry to define the role of Cox-2 in stress and anxiety modulation. 

Graduate Students