In the News
The recent push to legalize recreational and medical marijuana has put the spotlight on Dr. Yasmin Hurd and her pioneering work on the transgenerational effects of cannabis on the developing brain. Dr. Hurd's research was featured on the cover story of TIME magazine on May 25, 2015: The Great Pot Experiment. View the PDF.
Dr. Hurd talks about studying addiction in The Daily News feature The Daily Check Up. View the PDF.
Perception of marijuana as a "safe drug" is scientifically inaccurate August 27, 2013 - The nature of the teenage brain makes users of cannabis particularly at risk of developing addictive behaviors. Read more.
Addiction, Anatomy, Basal Ganglia, Behavior, Brain, Developmental Biology, Gene Expressions, Gene Regulation, Genetics, Neurobiology, Neuropeptides, Neuroscience, Neurotransmitters, Opioid/Cannabinoid Receptors
Biophysics and Systems Pharmacology [BSP], Genetics and Genomic Sciences [GGS], Neuroscience [NEU]
PhD, Karolinska Institute
, Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
, Neuroscience Center at St. Elizabeth's Hospital
The research group investigates the neurobiology underlying drug abuse and related psychiatric disorders. The work is focused on the systematic study of the human brain of drug abusers and subjects with psychiatric disorders in relation to opioid neuropeptide, cannabinoid and dopamine neuronal systems. Drug abuse and, e.g., major depression are associated with alterations of mood, cognition, and motivation, thus, an important goal is to identify and map specific genes in the mesocorticolimbic system, which regulate emotional function. Techniques such as in situ hybridization, RT-PCR, DNA microarray, RNA-sequencing, chromatin immunoprecipitation, in vitro autoradiography, and general biochemical assays are used for the detailed analyses of genes, and respective protein products, in discrete mesocorticolimbic brain areas. Molecular, biochemical, and in vivo studies of the human brain are assessed in relation to individual genotype in order to identify neurobiological correlates of functional genetic polymorphisms linked to addiction and affective disorders. Epigeneic mechanisms, e.g., DNA methylation and histone modifications, are also evaluated in relation to the regulation of gene expression.
A significant area of investigation is related to assessing the impact of early developmental cannabis exposure on the human brain and translational animal models that may enhance later risk for substance abuse and psychiatric disturbances. Recent efforts involve combined in vivo imaging and molecular pharmacogenetic strategies to provide quantitative, dynamic and cell type-specific functional circuit mapping throughout the brain relevant to normal behavior and pathological states underlying neuropsychiatric disorders.
As complement to studies of the human brain, animal models are used to monitor in vivo neurotransmitter levels (e.g., dopamine as measured by the microdialysis technique) and virally manipulate specific genes and epigenetic mechanisms within discrete cell populations in discrete brain areas during behavior such as operant drug self-administration behavior (particularly heroin and cocaine). The animal studies are also designed to mimic the prenatal and adolescent drug exposure (particularly cannabis) seen in humans, and to track the protracted impact on adult behavior and molecular events in the same subject or across generations.
For more information, please visit the Hurd Laboratory website.
Preventing Heroin Relapse: Cannabidiol
Heroin dependence is a chronic, relapsing medical disorder characterized by persistent drug craving, with loss of control and profound drug seeking behavior. Traditional opioid abuse treatments such as methadone have targeted opioid receptors since heroin metabolites bind with hi...
Michaelides M, Hurd Y. DREAMM: A biobehavioral imaging methodology for dynamic in vivo whole-brain mapping of cell type-specific functional networks. Neuropsychopharmacology 2014;.
Szutorisz H, DiNieri JA, Sweet E, Egervari G, Michaelides M, Carter JM, Ren Y, Miller ML, Blitzer RD, Hurd YL. Parental THC exposure leads to compulsive heroin-seeking and altered striatal synaptic plasticity in the subsequent generation. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2014 May; 39(6).
Tortoriello G, Morris CV, Alpar A, Fuzik J, Shirran SL, Calvigioni D, Keimpema E, Botting CH, Reinecke K, Herdegen T, Courtney M, Hurd YL, Harkany T. Miswiring the brain: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol disrupts cortical development by inducing an SCG10/stathmin-2 degradation pathway. The EMBO journal 2014 Apr; 33(7).
Michaelides M, Anderson SA, Ananth M, Smirnov D, Thanos PK, Neumaier JF, Wang GJ, Volkow ND, Hurd YL. Whole-brain circuit dissection in free-moving animals reveals cell-specific mesocorticolimbic networks. The Journal of clinical investigation 2013 Dec; 123(12).
Anderson SA, Michaelides M, Zarnegar P, Ren Y, Fagergren P, Thanos PK, Wang GJ, Bannon M, Neumaier JF, Keller E, Volkow ND, Hurd YL. Impaired periamygdaloid-cortex prodynorphin is characteristic of opiate addiction and depression. The Journal of clinical investigation 2013 Dec; 123(12).
Chadwick B, Miller ML, Hurd YL. Cannabis Use during Adolescent Development: Susceptibility to Psychiatric Illness. Frontiers in psychiatry 2013; 4.
Hurd YL, Michaelides M, Miller ML, Jutras-Aswad D. Trajectory of adolescent cannabis use on addiction vulnerability. Neuropharmacology 2014 Jan; 76 Pt B.
Sillivan SE, Whittard JD, Jacobs MM, Ren Y, Mazloom AR, Caputi FF, Horvath M, Keller E, Ma'ayan A, Pan YX, Chiang LW, Hurd YL. ELK1 transcription factor linked to dysregulated striatal mu opioid receptor signaling network and OPRM1 polymorphism in human heroin abusers. Biological psychiatry 2013 Oct; 74(7).
Jacobs MM, Ökvist A, Horvath M, Keller E, Bannon MJ, Morgello S, Hurd YL. Dopamine receptor D1 and postsynaptic density gene variants associate with opiate abuse and striatal expression levels. Molecular psychiatry 2013 Nov; 18(11).
DiNieri JA, Wang X, Szutorisz H, Spano SM, Kaur J, Casaccia P, Dow-Edwards D, Hurd YL. Maternal cannabis use alters ventral striatal dopamine D2 gene regulation in the offspring. Biological psychiatry 2011 Oct; 70(8).
Ren Y, Whittard J, Higuera-Matas A, Morris CV, Hurd YL. Cannabidiol, a nonpsychotropic component of cannabis, inhibits cue-induced heroin seeking and normalizes discrete mesolimbic neuronal disturbances. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2009 Nov; 29(47).
Watson CT, Szutorisz H, Garg P, Martin Q, Landry JA, Sharp AJ, Hurd YL. Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Profiling Reveals Epigenetic Changes in the Rat Nucleus Accumbens Associated With Cross-Generational Effects of Adolescent THC Exposure. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2015 Jun;.
Manini AF, Yiannoulos G, Bergamaschi MM, Hernandez S, Olmedo R, Barnes AJ, Winkel G, Sinha R, Jutras-Aswad D, Huestis MA, Hurd YL. Safety and pharmacokinetics of oral cannabidiol when administered concomitantly with intravenous fentanyl in humans. Journal of addiction medicine; 9(3).
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Dr. Hurd has not yet completed reporting of Industry relationships.
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