Matthew M. Ford, Ph.D.

  • Research Assistant Professor, Oregon National Primate Research Center
  • Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine


Matthew M. Ford is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Neuroscience at the ONPRC. He earned his BS in Biology from Bucknell University in 1996 and his PhD in Pharmacology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 2002. This was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Oregon Health & Science University.  Between 2007 -2012 he was the recipient of a K01 award and served as a Research Assistant Professor within the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU.  In 2012 he was appointed to the ONPRC.

The Ford laboratory strives to develop translational models of addiction, with emphasis on enhancing ‘vertical integration’ between rodent and non-human primate species.  Over the past 10 years we have developed multiple models that address the behavioral processes underlying alcohol self-administration, reinforcement, reinstatement, and drug discrimination in rodents.  Our general approach is to investigate both subjective drug effects and drug self-administration in parallel, as discriminative stimulus effects of drugs are believed to be critically involved in promoting drug seeking by directing behavior towards drug access and consumption.  It is critical to understand the relationship between these behavioral processes.  By investigating rodent and non-human primate models of abuse-related behaviors in tandem it is hoped that brain mechanisms underlying the propensity to self-administer drugs uncontrollably can be identified, manipulated, and translated between species to provide more effective treatment options for abusers. 
Current projects in the laboratory are addressing:
1) gene therapy to block relapse following chronic alcohol self-administration in rhesus macaques    
2) alcohol-nicotine interactions and the neurobiological underpinnings of co-abuse
3) influence of a non-synonymous polymorphism in the α5 nicotinic receptor subunit (rs16969968) on abuse-related behaviors in cynomolgus macaques
4) development and implementation of an e-cigarette self-administration model in rhesus macaques
5) alcohol-stress interactions and the role of environmental contingencies that result in ‘conflict or cognitive’ stress and associated ‘binge’ drinking
6) feasibility of muscarinic and nicotinic receptor-based pharmacotherapy for methamphetamine abuse

Education and training

    • B.S., 1996, Bucknell University
    • B.S., 1996, Bucknell University
    • Ph.D., 2002, Wake Forest University
    • Ph.D., 2002, Wake Forest University
  • Fellowship

    • Postdoctoral Fellow, Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU (2002-2007)

Memberships and associations:

  • Society For Neuroscience (1998-present)
  • Research Society on Alcoholism (1999-present)
  • The Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco (2017- present)

Areas of interest

  • Behavioral Pharmacology
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Addiction
  • Drug Reinforcement and Motivation
  • Drug Discrimination
  • Drug Self-Administration
  • Animal Models of Alcohol, Nicotine and Methamphetamine Abuse

Honors and awards

  • Oregon Clinical + Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) Scholar (2007-2012)
  • Research Society on Alcoholism Junior Investigator Award (2003-2007)
  • OHSU Alumni Association’s Post-Doc Paper of the Year Award (2005)
  • Department of Behavioral Neuroscience Post-Doc paper of the Year Award (2005)
  • International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism, Congress Travel Award (2004)
  • National Institute of Health (NIDA) Post-Doctoral Training Award Recipient (2002-2004)
  • Research Society on Alcoholism Student Merit Award (2000-2001)
  • National Institute of Health (NIAAA) Pre-Doctoral Training Award Recipient (1999-2002)
  • Society for Neuroscience Chapters Graduate Student Travel Award (2000)
  • Dean’s Fellowship, Wake Forest University School of Medicine (1996)
  • Bucknell University Student Research Scholarship (1994)


Selected publications

  • Allen DC, Ford MM, Grant KA (2017) Cross-species translational findings in the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol. Curr Top Behav Neurosci [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 28341943
  • Shorey-Kendrick LE, Ford MM, Allen DC, Kuryatov A, Lindstrom J, Wilhelm L, Grant KA, Spindel ER (2015) Nicotinic receptors in non-human primates: analysis of genetic and functional conservation with humans. Neuropharmacology 96(Pt B):263-273. PMID: 25661700 
  • Ford MM (2014) Applications of schedule-induced polydipsia in rodents for the study of an excessive ethanol intake phenotype. Alcohol 48:265-276.  PMID: 24680665
  • Ford MM, Steele AM, McCracken AD, Finn DA, Grant KA (2013) The relationship between adjunctive drinking, blood ethanol concentration and plasma corticosterone across fixed-time intervals of food delivery in two inbred mouse strains. Psychoneuroendocrinology 38:2598-2610. PMID:23827168
  • Ford MM, McCracken AD, Davis NL, Ryabinin AE, Grant KA (2012) Discrimination of ethanol-nicotine drug mixtures in mice: dual interactive mechanisms of overshadowing and potentiation.   Psychopharmacology 224:537-548.  PMID: 22763667
  • Finn DA, Beckley EH, Kaufman KK, Ford MM (2010) Manipulation of GABAergic steroids: Sex differences in the effects on alcohol drinking- and withdrawal-related behaviors.   Hormones and Behavior 57:12-22. PMID: 19615369
  • Ford MM, Fretwell AM, Nickel JD, Mark GP, Strong MN, Yoneyama N, Finn DA (2009) The influence of mecamylamine on ethanol and sucrose self-administration. Neuropharmacology 57:250-258. PMID: 19501109
  • Finn DA, Mark GP, Fretwell AM, Gililland KR, Strong MN, Ford MM (2008) Reinstatement of ethanol and sucrose seeking by the neurosteroid allopregnanolone in C57BL/6 mice.  Psychopharmacology 201:423-433. PMID: 18758755
  • Ford MM, Nickel JD, Phillips TJ, Finn DA (2005) Neurosteroid modulators of GABAA receptors differentially modulate ethanol intake patterns in male C57BL/6J mice.  Alcohol Clin Exp Res 29:1630-1640. PMID: 16205363
  • Ford MM, Eldridge JC, Samson HH (2002) Microanalysis of ethanol self-administration: estrous cycle phase-related changes in consumption patterns. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 26:635-643. PMID: 12045471


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