Marina Wolf, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, School of Medicine
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine


Dr. Marina Wolf is Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University. She has been a pioneer in studying the role of neuronal plasticity in drug addiction. Her laboratory uses animal models to understand why recovering addicts remain vulnerable to drug craving and relapse even after long periods of abstinence. Cell culture models are used for mechanistic experiments to complement the in vivo studies. Dr. Wolf received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Yale in 1986 and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Cell Biology, Sinai Hospital of Detroit. She was Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Wayne State University before moving to the Chicago Medical School in 1992. Her laboratory has been continuously supported by NIDA since 1992 and she is presently PI on two R01 awards. She has previously been the recipient of a Merit Award from NIDA (R37) as well as a Senior Scientist Research and Mentorship Award (K05).  She has served as a member of the NIDA Advisory Council, the NIH Council of Councils, the NIDA Board of Scientific Counselors, and the Council of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). Dr. Wolf was President of the ACNP in 2019. She has served on many NIH study sections, including 2 years as Chair of MNPS. She presently serves on the Scientific Council of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and as a Board Member of the American Brain Coalition. She was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2017.

Dr. Wolf's office is in MRB 835.


  • B.A., 1981, Northwestern University
  • Ph.D., 1986, Yale University

Honors and awards

  • MERIT Award, NIDA (R37 DA015835, 2003-2013)
  • Special Lecturer, Society for Neuroscience 2014
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2017
  • Chicago Society for Neuroscience Career Achievement Award, 2017

Memberships and associations

  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Fellow (President 2019, Council member 2020-2022)
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, Scientific Council (2016-present)
  • Board Member, American Brain Coalition (2020-present)

Areas of interest

  • Synaptic plasticity underlying behavioral changes in animal models of drug addiction


Selected publications

  • Boudreau AC, Wolf ME (2005) Behavioral sensitization to cocaine is associated with increased AMPA receptor surface expression in the nucleus accumbens. J Neurosci 25: 9144-9151. PMID: 16207873
  • Sun X, Milovanovic M, Zhao Y, Wolf ME (2008) Acute and chronic dopamine receptor stimulation modulates AMPA receptor trafficking in nucleus accumbens neurons co-cultured with prefrontal cortex neurons. J Neurosci 28:4216-4230. PMC2667279
  • Conrad KL, Tseng KY, Uejima JL, Reimers JM, Heng LJ, Shaham Y, Marinelli M, Wolf ME (2008) Formation of accumbens GluR2-lacking AMPA receptors mediates incubation of cocaine craving. Nature 454:118-121. PMC2574981
  • Sun X, Wolf ME (2009) Nucleus accumbens neurons exhibit synaptic scaling that is occluded by repeated dopamine pre-exposure. Eur J Neurosci 30:539-550. PMID: 19674091
  • McCutcheon JE, Loweth JA, Ford KA, Marinelli M, Wolf ME*, Tseng KY* (2011) Group I mGluR activation reverses cocaine-induced accumulation of calcium-permeable AMPA receptors in nucleus accumbens synapses via a protein kinase C-dependent mechanism. J Neurosci 31:14536 –14541. (*co-senior authors) PMC3220940
  • Loweth JA, Scheyer AF, Milovanovic M, LaCrosse AL, Flores-Barrera E, Werner CT, Li X, Ford KA, Le T, Olive MF, Szumlinski KK, Tseng KY*, Wolf ME* (2014) Synaptic depression via positive allosteric modulation of mGluR1 suppresses cue-induced cocaine craving. Nat Neurosci 17(1):73-80. (*co-senior authors) PMC3971923
  • Werner CT, Stefanik MT, Milovanovic M, Caccamise A, Wolf ME (2018) Protein translation in the nucleus accumbens is dysregulated during cocaine withdrawal and required for expression of incubation of cocaine craving. J Neurosci 38(11):2683-2697.
  • Stefanik MT, Milovanovic M, Werner CT, Spainhour JCG, Wolf ME (2018) Withdrawal from cocaine self-administration alters the regulation of protein translation in the nucleus accumbens. Biol Psychiatry 2018 Feb 23. pii: S0006-3223(18)30113-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.02.012.
  • Wolf ME, Tseng KY (2012) Calcium-permeable AMPA receptors in the VTA and nucleus accumbens after cocaine exposure: when, how and why? Front Molecular Neurosci 5:72. PMC3384237
  • Wolf ME (2016) Synaptic mechanisms underlying persistent cocaine craving. Nat Rev Neurosci 17(6):351-65. PMC5466704


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