Dennis K. Miller

Dennis K. Miller
Associate Professor
212C McAlester Hall
(573) 884-8141
A rat running in the automated activity monitor

A rat running in the automated activity monitor

A mouse in a conditioned place preference apparatus.

A mouse in a conditioned place preference apparatus.

A mouse on the rotarod

A mouse on the rotarod

Research Interests: 

My research is in neuropsychopharmacology, with an interest in the development of pharmacotherapies for drug addiction and neurodegnerative disorders. In our laboratory we examine rodent behaviors to model human conditions such as addiction, chronic pain and anxiety.

Our research is investigating novel targets for treatments for cocaine and methamphetamine abuse and addiction. We have recently determined that ligands for sigma receptors can alter cocaine's and methamphetamine's neurochemical and behavioral properties. We are conducting collaborative research to understand this interaction better.

Through collaborative work with colleagues in the College of Veterinary Medicine we have been investigating the motivation to voluntary run and how it might influence psychological disorders such as substance dependence, anxiety and depression.  We are also collaborating with colleages in the College of Medicine to develop new models of chronic pain that will help us investigate the efficacy of natural products used to minimize pain and anxiety.

Teaching: 

I teach General Psychology (PSYCH-1000) for undergraduates, and the goal of this class is for students to gain a basic understanding of psychological science.  Student explore the different disciplines within psychology and learn about the important experiments and philosophies that have shaped our understanding of behavior.  I teach the undergraduate course Drugs and Behavior (PSYCH-2220) online to help students get a basic understanding of pharmacology and how thereapeutic and recreational drugs change the brain and behavior.

My goal as a teacher is to help students learn the fundamental principles of psychology and pharmacology, how the principles impact their day-to-day life, and how the principles are studied in the modern scientific laboratory.  I encourage my students to challenge their assumptions about their own perspectives, sometimes by participating in the collection of new scientific data.

Selected Publications: 

Miller, D. K., Oelrichs, C. E., Sun, G. Y. & Simonyi, A. (2014). Subchronic apocynin treatment attenuates methamphetamine-induced dopamine release and hyperactivity in rats. Life Sciences, 98(1): 6-11.

Brown, J. D., Green, C. L., Arthur, I. M., Booth, F. W., & Miller, D. K. (2015). Selective breeding for low and high voluntary running behavior co-selects for differences in novelty-induced and cocaine-induced locomotor activity. Psychopharmacology, 232: 673-681.

Miller, D. K. (2015). Taking sides: Clashing views in drugs and society. New York: McGraw Hill.

Sage, A. S. & Miller, D. K. (2015). A healthy body for a healthy mind. World Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 3(2): 158-159. Open Access Article

Lever, J. R., Fergason-Cantrell, E. A., Watkinson, L. D., Carmack, T. L., Lord, S. A., Xu, R., Miller, D. K., Lever, S. Z. (2016). Cocaine occupancy of sigma1 receptors.  Synapse, 70(3): 98-111.