Photo of Matthew M. Ford, Ph.D.

Matthew M. Ford Ph.D.

  •      (503) 346-5455
    • 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

Areas of interest

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


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

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

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)

Memberships and associations

  • Society For Neuroscience (1998-present)
  • Research Society on Alcoholism (1999-present)
  • American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics (2009-present)
  • International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism (2011-present)


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


  • "The Influence of Selection for Ethanol Withdrawal Severity on Traits Associated With Ethanol Self-Administration and Reinforcement" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research February 2011
  • "Sex differences in the effect of ethanol injection and consumption on brain allopregnanolone levels in C57BL/6 mice" Neuroscience  2004
  • "Effect of nucleus accumbens shell infusions of ganaxolone or gaboxadol on ethanol consumption in mice" Psychopharmacology April 1 2015
  • "Microanalysis of ethanol self-administration" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research  2002
  • "The role of pregnane neurosteroids in ethanol withdrawal" Pharmacology and Therapeutics February 2004
  • "Repeated ethanol administration modifies the temporal structure of sucrose intake patterns in mice" Addiction Biology  2010
  • "Effect of ganaxolone and THIP on operant and limited-access ethanol self-administration" Neuropharmacology September 2012
  • "Neurosteroid modulators of GABAA receptors differentially modulate ethanol intake patterns in male C57BL/6J mice" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research September 2005
  • "Treatment with and withdrawal from finasteride alter ethanol intake patterns in male C57BL/6J mice" Alcohol August 2006
  • "A new look at the 5α-reductase inhibitor finasteride" CNS Drug Reviews March 2006
  • "Null Mutation of 5α-Reductase Type I Gene Alters Ethanol Consumption Patterns in a Sex-Dependent Manner" Behavior Genetics May 1 2015
  • "Sex Differences in Ethanol’s Anxiolytic Effect and Chronic Ethanol Withdrawal Severity in Mice with a Null Mutation of the 5α-Reductase Type 1 Gene" Behavior Genetics May 1 2015
  • "Influence of reinforcement schedule on ethanol consumption patterns in non-food restricted male C57BL/6J mice" Alcohol February 2007
  • "Discrimination of ethanol-nicotine drug mixtures in mice" Psychopharmacology December 2012
  • "Applications of schedule-induced polydipsia in rodents for the study of an excessive ethanol intake phenotype" Alcohol  2014
  • "Progress in a replicated selection for elevated blood ethanol concentrations in HDID mice" Genes, Brain and Behavior February 2014
  • "Differences in the reinstatement of ethanol seeking with ganaxolone and gaboxadol" Neuroscience July 11 2014
  • "Nicotinic receptors in non-human primates" Neuropharmacology June 27 2015
  • "Inhibition of 5α-reduced steroid biosynthesis impedes acquisition of ethanol drinking in male C57BL/6J mice" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research August 2008
  • "Contribution of NMDA glutamate and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor mechanisms in the discrimination of ethanolnicotine mixtures" Behavioural Pharmacology October 2013
  • "A genetic animal model of differential sensitivity to methamphetamine reinforcement" Neuropharmacology June 2012
  • "Mouse inbred strain differences in ethanol drinking to intoxication" Genes, Brain and Behavior February 2007
  • "Selected line difference in the effects of ethanol dependence and withdrawal on allopregnanolone levels and 5α-Reductase Enzyme Activity and Expression" Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research December 2009
  • "Quantification of ten neuroactive steroids in plasma in Withdrawal Seizure-Prone and -Resistant mice during chronic ethanol withdrawal" Psychopharmacology September 1 2014
  • "The neurosteroid environment in the hippocampus exerts bi-directional effects on seizure susceptibility in mice" Brain Research December 3 2008
  • "Ethanol consumption in the female Long-Evans rat" Alcohol  2002
  • "Role of training dose in drug discrimination" Behavioural Pharmacology September 2011
  • "Manipulation of GABAergic steroids" Hormones and Behavior January 2010
  • "Voluntary ethanol consumption in 22 inbred mouse strains" Alcohol May 2008
  • "Allopregnanolone influences the consummatory processes that govern ethanol drinking in C57BL/6J mice" Behavioural Brain Research May 16 2007

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