Don Cooper, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor
in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. He received
his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Chicago Medical School
in 2000. He moved to Northwestern University in the Dept of
Neurobiology and Physiology for postdoctoral training until
2004. In 2004, he moved to the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center, as an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Psychiatry.
In 2009, he moved to the University of Colorado, Institute
for Behavioral Genetics. Dr. Cooper is the recipient of an
NIH career award to investigate gene expression in cocaine
addiction. His laboratory is funded by the NIH to study Ecstasy
and cocaine in the brain memory and reward system. He is a
member of a number of professional organizations in neuroscience.
He has served as an ad hoc member of a number of committees
for the National Institutes of Health and chair of the National
Academy of Science Kavli US/Japan Frontiers program. He has
also served as peer reviewer for numerous journals.
The long-term goals of Dr. Cooper’s laboratory are to
understand information processing in the brain motivation/reward
memory circuitry and characterize the adaptations and impaired
neural memory mechanisms associated with depression, addiction
Dr. Cooper’s neurophysiology laboratory combines behavioral,
molecular genetic and detailed electrophysiological analysis
to understand how psychostimulant drugs alter neuronal impulse
activity leading to short and long-term changes in communication
within mesolimbic dopamine system. Their approach to this
problem utilizes state-of-the-art technology (e.g. DNA microarrays,
viral gene transduction, infrared and fluorescence visualized
patch-clamp physiology and intravenous drug self-administration)
and complementary levels of analysis (e.g. drug self-administration,
in vivo and in vitro physiology, molecular techniques and
computer simulation) in order to gain insight into how this
system functions under normal and pathological conditions.
Cao JL, Covington HE 3rd, Friedman AK, Wilkinson MB, Walsh JJ, Cooper DC, Nestler EJ, Han MH. Mesolimbic dopamine neurons in the brain reward circuit mediate susceptibility to social defeat and antidepressant action. J Neurosci 2010.
Mukherjee S, Coque L, Cao JL, Kumar J, Chakravarty S, Asaithamby A, Graham A, Gordon E, Enwright JF 3rd, DiLeone RJ, Birnbaum SG, Cooper DC, McClung CA. Knockdown of the Clock in the Ventral Tegmental Area through RNA Inteference Results in a Mixed State of Mania and Depression-Like Behavior. Biological Psychiatry 2010.
Moore SJ, Cooper DC, Spruston N. Plasticity of Burst Firing by Synergistic Activation of Metabotropic Glutamate and Acetylcholine Receptors. Neuron 2009.
Sidiropoulou K, Lu FM, Fowler MA, Xiao R, Phillips C, Ozkan ED, Zhu MX, White FJ, Cooper DC. Dopamine Modulates an mGluR5-Mediated Depolarization Underlying Prefrontal Persistent Activity. Nature Neuroscience 2009.
Krishnan V, Han MH, Graham DL, Berton O, Renthal W, Russo SJ, Laplant Q, Graham A, Lutter M, Lagace DC, Ghose S, Reister R, Tannous P, Green TA, Neve RL, Chakravarty S, Kumar A, Eisch AJ, Self DW, Lee FS, Tammings CA, Cooper DC, Gershenfeld HK, Nestler EJ. Molecular Adaptations Underlying Susceptibility and Resistance to Social Defeat in Brain Reward Regions. Cell 2007.