Paul J. Currie
Professor of Psychology
Division of Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, and Linguistics
I joined the Department of Psychology at Reed in the fall of 2007. My teaching expertise focuses on neuroscience and neuropharmacology with courses examining the neural bases of behavior including an emphasis on brain anatomy, physiology, and transmitter-receptor function. Research in my neuroscience lab is currently funded by a grant from the Murdock Charitable Trust. One line of work is directed at understanding the role of brain transmitter and peptide systems in relation to energy homeostasis and metabolism. A second line of research focuses on brain reward mechanisms including ghrelin and dopamine signaling. In a related line of research my lab is investigating the role of limbic structures in stress and anxiety. In recently published work, for example, we have mapped the feeding and metabolic effects of the gastric peptide ghrelin. We have also demonstrated that central ghrelin plays a critical role in stress and anxiety, and moreover, that midbrain ghrelin signaling plays an important role in drug reward, including alcohol reward. Overall this work demonstrates the interplay of neural systems mediating metabolic, reward, and emotional signaling. I am currently an active member of various professional societies including the Society for Neuroscience and the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience. I am also a section editor for the rapid communication neuroscience journal NeuroReport.