Pamela Metten

Senior Research Associate

Co-Director, Animal & Dependence Core, Portland Alcohol Research Center  

Senior Research Associate, Dept. of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University  

Research Geneticist, Portland VA Medical Center


Major Area

Behavioral Pharmacogenetics

Previous Positions

Research Associate, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University NIDA Post-Doctoral Fellow, Oregon Health & Science University (John K. Belknap, PhD, Preceptor)


B.A. (1989) University of Portland  

M.S. (1993) Oregon Health & Science University  

Ph.D. (1997) Oregon Health & Science University

Research Interests

My research interest is in the genetic bases of effects of sedative hypnotic drugs, especially dependence on abused drugs such as alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines and how some of these genes may influence other traits (pleiotropy).

Recently, I have become interested in the ontogeny of alcohol drinking and whether unpredictable stress during adolescence may increase adult drinking levels. As Laboratory Manager for Dr. John Crabbe, we have investigated a wide variety of these drugs’ effects on traits including drinking, ataxia, thermoregulation, anxiety, and motor learning. Through use of genetic animal models such as inbred strains and selectively bred lines, we have shown that dependence on alcohol shares some common genetic determinants with alcohol drinking, locomotor stimulant effects of alcohol, hypothermia, and dependence on barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

Correlational analyses suggest that the neuropharmacology of alcohol withdrawal seizures is specific to certain receptor systems. These types of studies can provide researchers with new hypotheses and suggest models to be used in testing them.

Selected Recent Publications

Buck, K. J., B. L. S. Rademacher, P. Metten, & J. C. Crabbe. (2002). Mapping murine loci for physical dependence on ethanol. Psychopharmacology, 160:398-407.

Wahlsten, D., P. Metten, T. J. Phillips, et al. (2003). Different data from different labs: lessons from studies of gene-environment interaction. Journal of Neurobiology, 54(1):283-311.

Crabbe, J. C., P. Metten, C.-H. Yu, J. P. Schlumbohm, A. J. Cameron, & D. Wahlsten. (2003). Genotypic differences in ethanol sensitivity in two tests of motor incoordination. Journal of Applied Physiology, 95(4):1338-1351.

Bergeson, S. E., R. K. Warren, J. C. Crabbe, P. Metten, V. G. Erwin & J. K. Belknap. (2003). Chromosomal loci influencing chronic alcohol withdrawal severity. Mammalian Genome, 14:454-463.

Metten, P., K. J. Best, A. J. Cameron, A. B. Saultz, J. M. Zuraw, C.-H. Yu, D. Wahlsten, & J. C. Crabbe. (2004). Observer rated ataxia: Rating scales for assessment of genetic differences in ethanol-induced intoxication in mice. Journal of Applied Physiology, 97(1):360-8.

Crabbe, J.C., Metten, P., Cameron, A.J., Wahlsten, D. (2005) An analysis of the genetics of alcohol intoxication in inbred mice. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 28(8):785-802.

Metten, P. & J. C. Crabbe. (2005) Alcohol withdrawal severity in inbred mouse (Mus musculus) strains. Behavioral Neuroscience, 119(4): 911-925.

Hood, H.M., P. Metten, J.C. Crabbe, & K.J. Buck. (2006). Fine mapping of a sedative-hypnotic drug withdrawal locus on mouse chromosome 11. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 5(1):1-10.

Blednov, Y. A., P. Metten, D. A. Finn, et al. (2005) Hybrid C57BL6J x FVB/NJ mice drink more alcohol than do C57BL/6J mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 29(11):1949-1958.

Metten, P. K.J. Buck, C.M. Merrill, A.J. Roberts, C.-H. Yu, & J.C. Crabbe. (2007) Use of a novel mouse genotype to model acute benzodiazepine withdrawal.  Behavior Genetics, 37(160-170).