The Effects of Combined Chronic Methylphenidate and Fluoxetine Treatment on Adolescent Depressive and Anxiety Like Behavior

Man holding Ritalin.

An excellent opportunity for pre-health/pre-med students to gain clinically significant research experience, as well as a great stepping stone to potentially earn your name on a publication. Members of this team will be expected to assist in this animal model of methylphenidate, fluoxetine behavioral paradigms, and several other training opportunities could potentially arise to learn surgical skill by committed students.

Project description

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects around 11% of school-aged children and are often prescribed the psychostimulant, methylphenidate (Ritalin). Many patients with ADHD also have other comorbid disorders including depression and anxiety disorders, and as such are prescribed the SSRI, fluoxetine (Prozac). However, due to the high comorbidity of ADHD with depression and anxiety disorders, many patients can be prescribed both MP and FLX, with estimates that over 30% percent of school-aged children and adolescents are prescribed antidepressants and stimulants. Although the comorbidity of these diseases and concurrent prescription rates of these drugs are high, the behavioral effects chronically administered in combination have yet to be thoroughly examined. Furthermore, recent genetic studies reveal that concomitant exposure to both MP and FLX may increase addiction vulnerability, particularly toward stimulants similar to MP, such as cocaine.

The overall goal of this research is to determine the developmental, behavioral and brain functional connectivity effects of chronic methylphenidate, and more particularly, research into the combined effects of methylphenidate and fluoxetine exposure, with a focus on various cocaine addiction paradigms. The MP team is seeking students to participate in hands-on research in these behavioral studies, who have an interest in the fields of addictions, neuroscience, psychology, biomedical engineering, and biology. This is an excellent opportunity for pre-health/pre-med students to gain clinically significant research experience, as well as is a great stepping stone to potentially earn your name on a publication. Members of this team will be expected to work with the drugs methylphenidate, fluoxetine, and cocaine in behavioral paradigms, and several other opportunities could potentially arise to learn micro-surgeries to committed members of the lab.

Project outcome

This project will examine the effects of chronically combined oral treatment of MP and FLX during adolescence on anxiety and depressive-like behavior, as well as its influence on cocaine addiction susceptibility.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitmentLonger than a semester (6-9 months)
Start timeAnytime
Level of collaborationLarge group collaborations  (4+ students)
BenefitsAcademic credit 
Who is eligibleAll undergraduate students 

Project mentor

Panayotis Thanos

Senior Research Scientist

Pharmacology and Toxicology

Phone: (716) 881-7520

Email: thanos@buffalo.edu

Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Students will watch supplied training videos and learn more about the background of the project. We will provide several articles from our lab that are related to the project the student will work on.