Pamela Metten

Co-Director, Animal & Dependence Core, Portland Alcohol Research Center
Senior Research Associate, Dept. of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University
Research Geneticist, Portland VA Medical Center


Major Area

Behavioral Pharmacogenetics

Previous Positions

Research Associate, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University

NIDA Post-Doctoral Fellow, Oregon Health & Science University (John K. Belknap, PhD, Preceptor)


B.A. (1989) University of Portland
M.S. (1993) Oregon Health & Science University
Ph.D. (1997) Oregon Health & Science University

Research Interests

My research interest is in the genetic bases of effects of sedative hypnotic drugs, especially dependence on abused drugs such as alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines and how some of these genes may influence other traits (pleiotropy).

Recently, I have become interested in the ontogeny of alcohol drinking and whether unpredictable stress during adolescence may increase adult drinking levels. As Laboratory Manager for Dr. John Crabbe, we have investigated a wide variety of these drugs’ effects on traits including drinking, ataxia, thermoregulation, anxiety, and motor learning. Through use of genetic animal models such as inbred strains and selectively bred lines, we have shown that dependence on alcohol shares some common genetic determinants with alcohol drinking, locomotor stimulant effects of alcohol, hypothermia, and dependence on barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

Correlational analyses suggest that the neuropharmacology of alcohol withdrawal seizures is specific to certain receptor systems. These types of studies can provide researchers with new hypotheses and suggest models to be used in testing them.

Selected Recent Publications

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by Mark Rutledge-Gorman
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