Dr. Ehringer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology and a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics. There are two main areas of ongoing research in her lab. The first area focuses on the identification of genes involved in substance use and abuse, using human molecular and statistical genetics. Recent studies from Dr. Ehringer's group and others has provided strong evidence that genes coding for neuronal nicotinic acetycholine receptors (CHRN genes) are associated with smoking, alcohol, and other drug-related behaviors. Ongoing work is aimed at further characterizing these genes and studying the molecular mechanisms which underlie risk. The second area of research is focused on identifying neuronal pathways that are common to alcohol behaviors and exercise. Using a mouse model, her lab has shown that access to a running wheel leads to decreased voluntary intake of alcohol. Current projects are focused on identifying genes that may be activated by both behaviors, and how these genes interact.
S.H. Stephens, N.R. Hoft, I.R. Schlaepfer, S.E. Young, R.C. Corley, M.B. McQueen, C. Hopfer, T. Crowley, M. Stallings, J. Hewitt, and M.A. Ehringer. (2011) Externalizing behaviors are associated with SNPs in the CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4 gene cluster. Behavior Genetics. [Epub ahead of print].
J.T. Sakai, T.J. Crowley, M.C. Stallings, M. McQueen, J.K. Hewitt, C. Hopfer, N.R. Hoft, M.A. Ehringer. (2011) Test of association between 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor gene and conduct disorder. Psychiatric Genetics. [Epud ahead of print].
N.R. Hoft, J.A. Stitzel, K.E. Hutchison, and M.A. Ehringer. (2011) CHRNB2 promoter region: association with subjective effects to nicotine and gene expression differences. Genes, Brain, and Behavior, 10(2):176-185.
N.L. Saccone, R.C. Culverhouse, T.H. Schwantes-An, D.S. Cannon, X. Chen, S. Cichon, I. Giegling, S. Han, Y. Han, K. Keskitalo-Vuokko, X. Kong, M.T. Landi, J.Z. Ma, S.E. Short, S.H. Stephens, V.L. Stephens, L. Sun, Y. Wang, A.S. Wenzlaff, S.H. Aggen, N. Breslau, P. Broderick, N. Chatterjee, J. Chen, A.C. Heath, M. Heliovaara, N.R. Hoft, D.J. Hunter, M.K. Jensen, N.G. Martin, G.W. Montgomery, T. NIu, T.J. Payne, L. Peltonen, M.L. Pergaida, J.P. Rice, R. Sherva, M.R. Spitz, J. Sun, J.C. Wang, R.B. Weiss, W. Wheeler, S.H. Witt, B.Z. Yang, N.E. Caparaso, M.A. Ehringer, T. Eisen, S.M. Gapstur, J. Gelernter, R. Houlston, J. Kaprio, K.S. Kendler, P. Kraft, M.F. Lepper, M.D. Li, P.A.F. Madden, M.M. Nothen, S. Pillai, M. Rietschel, D. Rujescu, A. Schwartz, C.I. Amos, L.J. Bierut. (2010) Multiple independent loci at chromosone 15q25.1 afect smoking quantity: a meta-analysis and comparison with lung cancer and COPD. PLoS Genetics, 6(8).
M.A. Ehringer, M.B. McQueen, N.R. Hoft, N. Saccone, J. Stitzel, J.C. Wang, and L.J. Bierut. (2010) Association of CHRN genes with "dizziness" to tobacco. Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 153B(2):600-609.
J.T. Sakai, M.C. Stalling, T.J. Crowley, H.L. Gelhorn, M.A. Ehringer. (2010) Test of association between GABRA2 (SNP rs279871) and adolescent conduct/alcohol use disorders utilizing a sample of clinic referred youth with serious substance and conduct problems, controls and available first degree relatives. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 106(2-3);199-203.