Photo of Dr. Athina Markou


Athina Markou , Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
PHONE #: (858) 534-1572
FAX #: (858) 534-9917


Athina Markou, Ph.D. is a Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, at the University of California, San Diego and Adjunct Professor at the Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Department of The Scripps Research Institute. She has published more than 120 journal articles and book chapters, and has received the Efron Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. She is Field Editor of Neuropharmacology, and on the editorial boards of Biological Psychiatry and The American Journal on Addictions.  She is Principal Investigator of several NIH and State of California grants, and Director of a NIH consortium on the discovery of treatments for depression and nicotine dependence. She has trained more than 20 postdoctoral and predoctoral fellows.

Research Focus
Our work focuses on reward and motivational processes in three psychiatric disorders: nicotine dependence, depression and schizophrenia. Dependence on nicotine is perpetuated by both the rewarding effects of acute nicotine and avoidance of negative affective aspects of nicotine withdrawal. We study the neurobiology of these phenomena, using rodent models, with emphasis on the inhibitory GABAergic and the excitatory glutamatergic neurotransmitter systems. We are also exploring the neurobiological similarities of drug- and non-drug-induced depressions, and the negative depression-like symptoms of schizophrenia. Finally, we initiated work on stress-induced depression-like behaviors and the cognitive aspects of schizophrenia.

Selected Publications

  • Markou, A., Kosten, T.R. and Koob, G.F. (1998) Neurobiological similarities in depression and drug dependence: A self-medication hypothesis, Neuropsychopharmacology, 18(3), 135-174
  • Epping-Jordan, M.P., Watkins, S.S., Koob, G.F. and Markou, A. (1998) Dramatic decreases in brain reward function during nicotine withdrawal, Nature, 393, 76-79.
  • Markou, A., Arroyo, M. and Everitt, B.J. (1999) Effects of contingent and non-contingent cocaine on drug-seeking behavior measured using a second-order schedule of cocaine reinforcement in rats, Neuropsychopharmacology, 20, 542-555.
  • Harrison, A.A., Liem, Y.T. and Markou, A. (2001) Fluoxetine combined with a serotonin-1A receptor antagonist reversed reward deficits observed during nicotine and amphetamine withdrawal in rats, Neuropsychopharmacology, 25, 55-71.
  • Kenny, P.J., Gasparini, F. and Markou, A. (2003) Group II metabotropic and a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA)/kainate glutamate receptors regulate the deficit in brain reward function associated with nicotine withdrawal in rats, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 306(3), 1068-1076

University of California, San Diego, Department of Psychiatry, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0603 La Jolla, CA 92037-0603
Telephone: (858) 534-3684, Fax: (858) 534-7653, Electronic Mail: