Psychology 890 
Spring 2007 Term 
Behavioral Neuroscience Program (Department of Psychology) 
State University of New York at Buffalo  (gateway)

Michael A. Bozarth, Ph.D. 
B-77 Park Hall, North Campus 
Office hours: Monday 15:00-17:30 hrs. 
extended most T/R 2:15 - 4:15 p.m.
telephone: 645-3650 ext. 677 






Online Course Materials

Click here <not currently available> to view online course materials.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction and overview of neuropsychopharmacology. It is designed for behavioral neuroscience graduate students, with special attention given to practical considerations important for conducting quality research using neuropharmacological manipulations. As an introductory course, the main focus is on providing an overview of basic principles and not necessarily addressing the latest research findings. The intention is to provide a framework for designing experiments and for evaluating published reports involving neuropsychopharmacology. Several major neurotransmitters systems and their involvement in behavior will be examined, but the emphasis remains on mastering fundamental principles necessary for advanced study in specialized areas of behavioral neuroscience. Only limited attention will be given to clinical psychopharmacology, drug abuse, and other topics which merit semester-long seminars.


Specific learning objectives are (1) to provide a background in neuropsychopharmacology including basic principles in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics along with an overview of primary neurotransmitter and select neuropeptide systems, (2) to examine several methodological/experimental design considerations specific to psychopharmacology, and (3) to provide a basis for the application of this knowledge to enhance ongoing and future research projects.



PSY 513 or by permission of instructor

Course Format

This course follows a seminar structure. The instructor presents lectures on core material not available in the textbooks; students present material on select topics from the ‘hard-copy’ and ‘online’ textbooks. A ListServ-based discussion group (i.e., neuropsychopharmacology-list) is used to address questions regarding the reading assignments, lecture material, discussions and exams, and all students are required to participate in the online discussion group. Students are automatically subscribed and can add alternative e-mail addresses on request to the instructor.

Click here to post to the list. 

Click here to view the list archives.


Reading Material

Required reading material for this course is on deposit at the Jacobs Copy Center (availability announced in-class or through the online discussion list), from the purchased textbook (i.e., Cooper et al., 2003), or available online (see Online Course Materials). Three primary sources are used for the course:


      Bozarth: Pharmacological Considerations for Neuropsychopharmacology (installments available at the Jacobs’ Copy Center).

      Cooper, Bloom, & Roth (2003): The Biochemical Basis of Neuropharmacology (Oxford University Press).

      Davis, Charney, Coyle, & Nemeroff (2002): Neuropsychopharmacology: The Fifth Generation of Progress (online version, also available on CD-ROM). Click here for the fifth edition; click here for the fourth edition (sans figures).

Course Grade

Grades are determined by performance on two examinations (2 x 25% each) and two presentations (2 x 25% each). Numeric grades are converted to letter grades using standard 10% intervals (e.g., 90% = A-, 80% = B-, 70% = C-).

Grade Components

Written Examination

Mid-Term Exam (25%): 05 March
Final Exam (25%): 30 April

Presentation: Neurotransmitter Systems

25% (two-person team presentation)

Presentation: Applications to Behavior

25% (individual presentation)


Students must complete two examinations during the semester. The first examination covers basic processes along with some methodological/experimental design considerations in psychopharmacology. The second examination covers neurotransmitter systems and the behavioral and neuropharmacological actions of select drugs.

Students will make two presentations. The first presentation addresses basic neurotransmitter/neuropeptide systems and is presented by two-person teams. The second presentation focuses on applications to behavior and is presented by a single individual. Presentations can be related to thesis/dissertation research. Students are permitted to seek-out help for their presentations. Part of the lesson might be considered how to work collaboratively, although the presentation along with its Q & A is solely the responsibility of the presenter. Presentations are graded on both the oral and written components.


Class attendance and participation in group discussions constitute an important component of the seminar. Students are responsible for all material discussed in class and for material contained in the assigned readings. Students must obtain notes from fellow students for missed class periods -- there are no standard notes available from the instructor.

Other Policies

Changing classroom dynamics necessitate posting some explicit expectations for student behavior. Click here to read principles of student conduct in effect for this course that supplement those outlined in the University at Buffalo Undergraduate Catalog. Continued enrollment in this course presumes the student has read and will adhere to these principles.


Important Notice: Students with disabilities (physical or psychological) that require special consideration should notify the instructor and the Office of Disability Services (25 Capen Hall, 645-2608) during the first two weeks of class. Various support services may be available.

Copyright Notice

The material contained on this web site and the material distributed for class are protected by U.S. and International copyright laws. Students are expressly prohibited from making audio or video recordings of lecture material and discussions and from compilation and distribution of class material except for their own private use.



Seminar Topics




Course Orientation


Introduction to Neuropsychopharmacology3




Principles of Pharmacokinetics3



  • Main processes involved in drug action
  • Neurophysiological targets for pharmacological manipulation

  • Main processes involved in the
    pharmacokinetic phase of drug action
  • Pharmacokinetic compartments
  • Factors affecting drug distribution to the biophase

22 Jan.

Pharmacokinetic Applications3

  • Modeling & prediction
  • Pharmacokinetic interactions

29 Jan.

Introduction to Pharmacodynamics3

  • Basic pharmacodynamic processes
  • Dose-response analysis

05 Feb.

Pharmacodynamic Principles3



Empirical Determination of Ligand & Receptor Characteristics3



Pharmacodynamic Theory3

  • Molecular pharmacology
  • Antagonist actions

  • Determination of dissociation constants
  • Antagonist dissociation constants
  • Applications of pA2 analysis
  • Empirical determination of receptor binding

  • Occupancy theory (classical version)
  • Modified occupancy theory
  • Allosteric theory
  • Rate theory

12 Feb.

Lessons in Behavioral Pharmacology

  • Response pattern analysis
  • Conditioning and context-dependent drug effects
  • Chemical brain stimulation and other microinjection applications
  • Quantitative analysis in behavioral pharmacology

19 Feb.

The Neurobiology of the ID: A Case Study in the Development of a Reward Model

  • Brain stimulation reward
  • Psychomotor stimulant reinforcement
  • Other drug reinforcement
  • Conventional reinforcement

26 Feb.


05 Mar.

Student Presentations: Neurotransmitter Systems-I (synthesis, metabolism, & distribution)

19 Mar.

Student Presentations: Neurotransmitter Systems-II (synthesis, metabolism, & distribution)

26 Mar.

Student Presentations: Neuropharmacology-I4

02 Apr.

Student Presentations: Neuropharmacology-II4

09 Apr.

Student Presentations: Select topics in Psychopharmacology-I5

16 Apr.

Student Presentations: Select topics in Psychopharmacology-II5

23 Apr.



30 Apr.

1: Pick one or more subtopics from each theme for your presentation beginning 19 March. 
2: Tentative starting dates may change during the semester.

3: Assigned readings for the first module are available at the Jacobs Hall Copy Center.

4: Topics emphasize the involvement of neurotransmitter systems in specific behaviors.
5: Topics emphasize the effects of specific drugs and drug classes on behavior and on neurotransmitter systems.


Copyright 2007 Michael A. Bozarth, Ph.D.

Revised 01May 2007 11:07 EST

Problems: Contact

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