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    By Alpha|By Interest|Emeritus

Jon-Kar Zubieta, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Professor, MBNI
Phil F. Jenkins Research Professor of Depression
Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry
Professor, Dept. of Radiology

1060 MBNI Building
205 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5720



(734) 763-6843



Current Research Interests:

Dr. Zubieta has over 15 years of experience in the use of anatomical and functional MRI, PET and SPECT for the quantification of metabolism, blood flow, and neuroreceptor sites in human subjects, the latter including cholinergic, aminergic, and opioid markers. His research focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the regulation of stress responses. He is applying this work towards the understanding of mood disorders and affective regulation, as well as conditions where physical and emotional stressors play a significant role, most notably substance abuse disorders and pain.

Recent and ongoing work includes the study of the activation of opioid and dopaminergic mechanisms during stress in humans. These studies are specifically geared towards the understanding of individual differences in stress responses and their regulation, which include sex differences and the influence of gonadal steroids, cognitive-emotional effects (e.g., the placebo effect), as well as that of common genetic polymorphisms. In parallel lines of work, neurotransmitter responses to other challenges, such as the induction of craving in substance abuse disorders and emotional challenges in patients diagnosed with mood and affective pathologies, are also being investigated. The relationship between neurotransmitter function and synaptic activity as measured by functional MRI is also part of these projects.

In the area of mood disorders, the relationship between alterations in the neuroendocrine stress axis, sleep and chronobiology and the function of the central serotonergic system also forms part of the studies examining the influence of stress on neurotransmitter function in humans.

The main goal of these studies is to provide a “systems-level” understanding of stress vulnerability and resiliency, incorporating neurochemical, functional, genetic and psychophysical information directly in humans. This information and techniques are then utilized for the translation of animal research to human experimentation, and the study of relevant patient populations, as noted above.


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