Amir H. Rezvani

Amir H. Rezvani

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois -- Urbana-Champaign 1983


My research and teaching interests have been primarily focused on the following areas:

Alcoholism: I work with "alcoholic" rats with genetic predisposition!" We use selectively-bred alcohol preferring rats as an animal model of human alcoholism for developing better pharmacological treatments for alcoholism. Recently, we are working on several novel promissing "anti-craving" compounds for the treatment of alcoholism. We are also studing the interaction bewteen alcohol drinking and nicotine intake.

Nicotine Addiction: We have been studying age and sex differences in i.v. nicotine self-administration in rats. We have found that pattern of drug intake is both age- and sex-dependent. Our lab is also exploring different neuronal targets for developing better pharmacologic treatment for nicotine addiction.

Sustained Attention: Another aspect of our research is studying the role of the neuronal nicotinic and other neuronal systems in sustained attention using a rodent model. We have shown, nicotine (not smoking!) and nicotinic compounds improve attention in rats. A majority of people with schizophrenia smoke and they smoke heavily. Thus, it is important to understand the interaction of antipsychotic medications and nicotine in sustained attention. This has been another aspect of our research with interesting results. Presently, we are testing novel nicotinic compounds for improving pharmacologically-impaired sustained attention.

Teaching: I love to teach and interact with students. Since arriving at Duke in 1999, I have been team-teaching the popular alcohol course (Psych 206-01R; Alcohol: Brain, Society and Individual). I also enjoy mentoring undergrad students who are interested in science and enjoy working in the lab with cute little creatures!.

Community: I am a member of the Board of Directors of Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), a self-supported therapeutic community in Durham. I also give seminars and workshops on addiction around the country.

Rezvani, AH, Wells, C, Slade, S, Xiao, Y, Kellar, KJ, and Levin, ED. "Oral sazetidine-A, a selective α4β2* nicotinic receptor desensitizing agent, reduces nicotine self-administration in rats." Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 179 (February 19, 2019): 109-112. Full Text

Levin, ED, Rezvani, AH, Wells, C, Slade, S, Yenugonda, VM, Liu, Y, Brown, ML, Xiao, Y, and Kellar, KJ. "α4β2 Nicotinic receptor desensitizing compounds can decrease self-administration of cocaine and methamphetamine in rats." European Journal of Pharmacology 845 (February 2019): 1-7. Full Text

DiPalma, D, Rezvani, AH, Willette, B, Wells, C, Slade, S, Hall, BJ, and Levin, ED. "Persistent attenuation of nicotine self-administration in rats by co-administration of chronic nicotine infusion with the dopamine D1 receptor antagonist SCH-23390 or the serotonin 5-HT2C agonist lorcaserin." Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 176 (November 9, 2018): 16-22. Full Text

Rezvani, AH, Tizabi, Y, Slade, S, Getachew, B, and Levin, ED. "Sub-anesthetic doses of ketamine attenuate nicotine self-administration in rats." Neuroscience Letters 668 (March 2018): 98-102. Full Text

Levin, ED, Wells, C, Slade, S, and Rezvani, AH. "Mutually augmenting interactions of dextromethorphan and sazetidine-A for reducing nicotine self-administration in rats." Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 166 (March 2018): 42-47. Full Text

Rezvani, AH, Slade, S, Wells, C, Yenugonda, VM, Liu, Y, Brown, ML, Xiao, Y, Kellar, KJ, and Levin, ED. "Differential efficacies of the nicotinic α4β2 desensitizing agents in reducing nicotine self-administration in female rats." Psychopharmacology 234.17 (September 2017): 2517-2523. Full Text

Rezvani, AH, Levin, ED, Cauley, M, Getachew, B, and Tizabi, Y. "Ketamine Differentially Attenuates Alcohol Intake in Male Versus Female Alcohol Preferring (P) Rats." Journal of Drug and Alcohol Research 6 (January 2017). Full Text

Rezvani, AH, Cauley, MC, Slade, S, Wells, C, Glick, S, Rose, JE, and Levin, ED. "Acute oral 18-methoxycoronaridine (18-MC) decreases both alcohol intake and IV nicotine self-administration in rats." Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 150-151 (November 2016): 153-157. Full Text

Levin, ED, Hall, BJ, Chattopadhyay, A, Slade, S, Wells, C, Rezvani, AH, and Rose, JE. "Reduction of nicotine self-administration by chronic nicotine infusion with H1 histamine blockade in female rats." Psychopharmacology 233.15-16 (August 2016): 3009-3015. Full Text

Briggs, SA, Hall, BJ, Wells, C, Slade, S, Jaskowski, P, Morrison, M, Rezvani, AH, Rose, JE, and Levin, ED. "Dextromethorphan interactions with histaminergic and serotonergic treatments to reduce nicotine self-administration in rats." Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior 142 (March 2016): 1-7. Full Text


Rezvani, AH. "Involvement of the NMDA system in learning and memory." Animal Models of Cognitive Impairment. January 1, 2006. 37-48.

Levin, ED, and Rezvani, AH. "Nicotinic involvement in cognitive function of rats." Nicotinic Receptors in the Nervous System. January 1, 2001. 167-178.

Selected Grants

Paternal Transgenerational Epigenetic Legacy from Use of Cannabis awarded by John Templeton Foundation (Co Investigator). 2017 to 2020

Study of Novel Treatment to Prevent Acquisition of Opiate Self-Administration in Rats awarded by Amygdala Neurosciences Inc. (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

Targeted tobacco regulatory science: Nicotine dose effects in animal models of smoking initiation in vulnerable adolescent subpopulations awarded by Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

Nicotinic Receptor Desensitization to Reduce Drug Self-Administration: Project 2 awarded by Georgetown University (Co Investigator). 2010 to 2015

Adolescence: A Sensitive Period for Nicotine Addiction awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2004 to 2010

Nicotinic-Antipsychotic Drug Interactions and Cognition awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2001 to 2006