Center of Excellence in Addiction Studies

Animal Behavior Core

The Behavioral Core provides users with standardized behavioral assays aimed at evaluation of opioid addiction including assessment of:

  • reward
  • tolerance
  • dependence
  • negative affect of addictive states 
  • cognitive outcomes

The behavioral core integrates protocols and procedures with information derived from the Genetic Targeting and Neuroanalytical Cores to help users investigate molecular targets and circuits underlying addiction. The specific services provided by the behavioral core include a battery of established and validated assays that align with ten clinical hallmarks of SUD including:

  • hazardous use
  • social and interpersonal dysfunction
  • neglect of major roles 
  • withdrawal and tolerance 
  • increases in amount and duration of use 
  • problems related to use
  • reduced participation in formerly enjoyed activities

The Behavioral Core also performs cognitive function including: 

  • novel object recognition
  • Barnes maze 
  • basic mazes of:
    • executive function
    • working memory
    • attentional capacity 
    • perception
    • learning
behavioral composite


todd vanderah


Todd Vanderah, PhD

Interim Director

Professor and Head, Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine – Tucson

tallie largent-mlnes


Tallie Sargent-Milnes, PhD

Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute

Assistant Professor, Pharmacology

Arther Riegel


Arthur Riegel, PhD

Associate Professor, Neuroscience

Associate Professor, Optical Sciences

Associate Professor, Pharmacology

Center of Excellence in Addiction Studies
Frank Porreca, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Center of Excellence in Addiction Studies
Department of Pharmacology
P.O. Box 245050 | 1501 N. Campbell Ave. | Tucson, AZ 85724-5050 | (520) 626-7421