Matthew Lattal, Ph.D.

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


Summary of Current Research
My research is focused on understanding how new memories form and how, once formed, these memories can be modulated or weakened through environmental and pharmacological interventions.  Research in my lab investigates memory at three different levels of analysis.  At the behavioral level, we are interested in how different environmental experiences can cause memories to be formed or suppressed.  At the neurobiological systems level, we focus on how brain circuits that mediate memory are altered by behavioral experience.  At the molecular level, we investigate whether manipulating epigenetic processes can modulate long-term memories.  Recent work has focused on the control of gene expression by pharmacological modulation of chromatin, the protein complex that packages genomic DNA.  Relaxing chromatin structure by administering a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor can promote gene expression by facilitating interactions between transcription factors and DNA.  We have found that HDAC inhibitors promote the development and persistence of different kinds of memories.  At a molecular level, these findings reinforce the idea that regulation of gene expression via chromatin modification is critical for memory.  At a clinical level, these findings suggest that modulating chromatin modification during an episode of learning may lead to a persistent form of memory.

Previous Positions
2010-2016  Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU

2005-2010  Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU

1998-2004 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania (Advisor: Ted Abel)

Education and training

    • B.A., 1993, University of California San Diego
    • Ph.D., 1998, University of Pennsylvania

Areas of interest

  • Neurobiology of learning and memory
  • Models of substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Learning theory
  • Pharmacological approaches to enhancing memory
  • Epigenetic mechanisms of memory


Selected publications

  • Williams, A.R., & Lattal, K.M. (2020).  Involvement of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in initial conditioning and rapid reconditioning following extinction of contextual fear.  Behavioral Neuroscience, in press.
  • Williams, A.R., Kim, E.S., & Lattal, K.M. (2019).  Behavioral and immunohistochemical characterization of rapid reconditioning following extinction of contextual fear.  Learning & Memory, 26, 381-386.  
  • Kim, E.S., & Lattal, K.M. (2019).  Context-dependent and -independent effects of D1 receptor antagonism in the basolateral and central amygdala during cocaine self-administration.  eNeuro 2019; 10.1523/ENEURO.0203-19.2019  PMCID: PMC6712201
  • Hitchcock, L.N., Raybuck, J.D., Wood, M.A., & Lattal, K.M. (2019). A histone deacetylase 3 inhibitor enhances extinction and attenuates reinstatement of cocaine self-administration in rats.  Psychopharmacology, 236, 517-529.  PMCID: PMC6459190  
  • Williams, A.R., & Lattal, K.M. (2019).  Rapid reacquisition of contextual fear following extinction in mice:  Effects of amount of extinction, acute ethanol withdrawal, and ethanol intoxication.  Psychopharmacology, 236, 491-506.  PMCID: PMC6374192
  • Alaghband, Y., Kramar, E., Kwapis, J.L., Kim, E.S., Hemstedt, T.J., Lopez, A.J., White, A.O., Al-Kachak, A., Aimiuwu, O.V., Bodinayake, K.K., Oparaugo, N.C., Han, J., Lattal, K.M., & Wood, M.A. (2018).  CREST in the nucleus accumbens core regulates cocaine conditioned place preference, cocaine-seeking behavior, and synaptic plasticity.  Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 9514-9526. PMCID: PMC6209848
  • Hitchcock, L.N., & Lattal, K.M. (2018). Involvement of the dorsal hippocampus in expression and extinction of cocaine-induced conditioned place preference.  Hippocampus, 28, 226-238.  PMCID: PMC5916867
  • Pizzimenti, C.L, Navis, T.M., & Lattal, K.M. (2017).  Persistent effects of acute stress on fear and drug-seeking in a novel model of the comorbidity between post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction.  Learning & Memory, 24, 422-431.  PMCID: PMC5580533
  • Abraham, A.D., Neve, K.A., & Lattal, K.M. (2016).  Activation of D1/5 dopamine receptors: A common mechanism for enhancing extinction of fear and reward-seeking behaviors.  Neuropsychopharmacology, 41, 2072–2081.  PMCID: PMC4908654


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