Photo of Kari J Buck, Ph.D.

Kari J Buck Ph.D.

  • (503) 220-8262
    • Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience School of Medicine
    • Scientist, VA Medical Center

A host of biological (genetic) and environmental factors interact in a complex manner throughout the addictive process to influence drug and alcohol use/abuse and contribute to relapse. My research uses preclinical (animal) models that closely approximate aspects of the human clinical situation to elucidate the gene and neural networks involved in drug response. We utilize robust behavioral models of drug and alcohol reward (e.g., conditioned place preference (CPP) and voluntary consumption phenotypes), dependence, and withdrawal (e.g., anxiety and depression-like behaviors, brain excitability/seizures). We use state-of-the-art approaches (e.g., RNA interference, stereotaxic site-directed pharmacological manipulations) to identify and rigorously test the role of specific genes (often referred to as quantitative trait loci/genes), larger gene networks (e.g., involved in oxidative stress, and a network involved in G-protein coupled receptor mediated signaling), brain regions, and pathways (e.g., limbic and basal ganglia, including amygdala, striatum, anterior cingulate cortex, substantia nigra, and hippocampus) in drug and alcohol response (e.g., sedative and euphoric actions), reward, dependence, and withdrawal. In collaboration with Behavioral Neuroscience faculty we also use neuroelectrophysiological approaches. 

1995-2002. Assistant Professor, Medical Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU

2002-2008. Associate Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU, Portland

2002-present. VA Scientist, VAMC Portland

2008-present. Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU, Portland

Non-Academic Interests
Kayaking, biking, gardening, standup comedy, mysteries, soccer mom


  • "Multiple cross mapping (MCM) markedly improves the localization of a QTL for ethanol-induced activation" Genes, Brain and Behavior November 2002
  • "In vivo generation of chimeras" ImmunoMethods  1998
  • "Internet resources for genomic, bioinformatics, and medical genetics information." Current protocols in neuroscience / editorial board, Jacqueline N. Crawley ... [et al.] May 2003
  • "Single-nucleotide polymorphism masking" Alcohol research : current reviews  2008
  • "Delay and trace fear conditioning in C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice" Learning and Memory  2014
  • "Congenic Mapping of Alcohol and Pentobarbital Withdrawal Liability Loci to a " Journal of Neuroscience May 1 2002
  • "Identifying genes for alcohol and drug sensitivity" Trends in Neurosciences April 1 1999
  • "5-HT2C and GABAB receptors influence handling-induced convulsion severity in chromosome 4 congenic and DBA/2J background strain mice" Brain Research March 10 2008
  • "Reversal of alcohol dependence and tolerance by a single administration of flumazenil" Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics  1991
  • "Allelic variation in the GABA(A) receptor γ2 subunit is associated with genetic susceptibility to ethanol-induced motor incoordination and hypothermia, conditioned taste aversion, and withdrawal in BXD/Ty recombinant inbred mice" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research  2000
  • "Involvement of the limbic basal ganglia in ethanol withdrawal convulsivity in mice is influenced by a chromosome 4 locus" Journal of Neuroscience September 24 2008
  • "Acute alcohol withdrawal is associated with c-Fos expression in the basal ganglia and associated circuitry" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research November 2005
  • "SNPs matter" PLoS Medicine September 2007
  • "The genetics of gene expression in complex mouse crosses as a tool to study the molecular underpinnings of behavior traits" Mammalian Genome  2014
  • "Intraperitoneal catheter placement for pharmacological imaging studies in conscious mice" Lab Animal January 2010
  • "Genomewide search for epistasis in a complex trait" Behavior Genetics  2001
  • "Modulation of γ-aminobutyric acidA receptor-operated chloride channels by benzodiazepine inverse agonists is related to genetic differences in ethanol withdrawal seizure severity" Journal of Neurochemistry December 1991
  • "Structural domains of catecholamine transporter chimeras involved in selective inhibition by antidepressants and psychomotor stimulants" Molecular Pharmacology December 1995
  • "Potential pleiotropic effects of Mpdz on vulnerability to seizures" Genes, Brain and Behavior February 2004
  • "Discovering genes involved in alcohol dependence and other alcohol responses" Alcohol research : current reviews  2011
  • "Quantitative trait loci involved in genetic predisposition to acute alcohol withdrawal in mice" Journal of Neuroscience  1997
  • "Use of recombinant inbred strains for studying genetic determinants of responses to alcohol." Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire). Supplement.  1994
  • "Strategies for mapping and identifying quantitative trait loci specifying behavioral responses to alcohol" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research  1995
  • "Rostroventral caudate putamen involvement in ethanol withdrawal is influenced by a chromosome 4 locus" Genes, Brain and Behavior October 2010
  • "High throughput sequencing in mice" BMC Genomics August 17 2009
  • "Multiple human D5 dopamine receptor genes" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America October 15 1991
  • "Alcohol actions on GABAA receptors" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research  2001
  • "Molecular genetic analysis of the role of GABAergic systems in the behavioral and cellular actions of alcohol" Behavior Genetics May 1996
  • "Differential activation of limbic circuitry associated with chronic ethanol withdrawal in DBA/2J and C57BL/6J mice" Alcohol September 2009
  • "The D2 receptor gene [5]" Science  1994

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