Headshot photo of John C. Crabbe, Ph.D.

John C. Crabbe, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine
  • Senior Research Career Scientist, VA Portland Health Care System
  • Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine


I have developed mouse pharmacogenetic models for dependence on ethanol by selectively breeding lines of mice resistant, or susceptible, to the severity of withdrawal from ethanol dependence. We have developed a more comprehensive set of behavioral assays characterizing withdrawal severity. With my collaborators we are analyzing the genomic changes underlying the large differences between the Withdrawal Seizure-Prone and -Resistant lines. 

Other approaches include studies of multiple inbred strains of mice examining the basis for genetic correlations between susceptibilities to different effects of ethanol and different drugs of abuse. These studies have explored the specificity of genetic influences across different environments, including multiple laboratories. They are also intended to elucidate gene-environment interactions. Strain patterns of sensitivity sometimes indicate the important influence of single genes on drug responses.

We have also developed new lines of mice selectively bred for binge Drinking in the Dark as a part of the Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA-Neuroimmune) consortium. These mice drink to the point of intoxication, reaching average blood levels higher than the legal driving limit. We are exploring the pharmacological characteristics of the neural circuitry underlying this drinking as well as the behavioral characteristics of these mice.  We are using these mice as a model for testing novel drugs that could ameliorate drinking and we are exploring their use in informatics-driven genomics studies.

Previous positions
Research Fellow, Organon International BV, Oss, the Netherlands
Lecturer, University of California

Education and training

    • B.A., 1968, Stanford University
    • M.A., 1972, University of Colorado
    • Ph.D., 1973, University of Colorado

Areas of interest

  • Mouse behavior
  • Genetics
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Genetic animal models
  • Binge drinking
  • Drug dependence
  • Drug tolerance

Honors and awards

  • 2016 Erwin Lecturer Skaggs Sch Pharm UC Denver
  • 2015 Dist Lect Creighton U SoM
  • 2015 Marlatt Mentorship Res Soc Alcoholism
  • 2015 Dist Service Int Behav/Neural Genet Soc
  • 2014 Dist Lect Addiction Res UTMB Galveston TX
  • 2012 Dist Lect Behav Pharmacol Dept Pharmacol/Tox U Toronto
  • 2012 Seixas Dist Service RSA
  • 2011 Keller Honorary Lect NIAAA NIH
  • 2008 Dist Scientist IBANGS
  • 2008 Marsh Lect Texas Tech U So Pharm
  • 2006 Resko Fac Res Achievement/Mentoring OHSU SoM
  • 2005 Middleton outstanding achievement biomed/behav res Dept Vets Affairs Wash DC
  • 2004 Bowles Lect Ctr Alcohol Studies UNC Chapel Hill NC
  • 1998 Isaacson Fdn for Prevent Chem Depend Disease
  • 1996 Dist Res RSA
  • 1995 Discovery Outstanding Med Res Scientist OHSU Foundation
  • 1991 Kendall VA Res Portland VAMC


Selected publications

  • Crabbe JC et al (1994) Science 264:1715. Crabbe et al (1996) Nature Genetics 14:98. Crabbe et al (1999) Science 284:1670. Rhodes JS et al (2005). Physiol. Behav. 84:53. Kliethermes CL, Crabbe JC (2006) PNASUSA. 103: 5018. Wahlsten D et al (2006). PNASUSA 103:16364. Kendler KS et al (2012) Molec. Psychiat.,17:1306. Iancu OD et al (2013) Alcohol Clin Exp Res 7:1295 Crabbe et al (2014) Genes Brain Behav. 13:236.  Ferguson LB et


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