- Physiology and Membrane Biology
- B.S., Genetics, University of California, Davis, 1987
- PhD, Molecular Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 1996
Department: Physiology and Membrane Biology
Neurobiology of addictive disorders and their comorbidities
Dr. Whistler is particularly interested in the role of biased versus balanced GPCR signaling in modulating responsiveness to drugs of abuse and the co-morbidities of anxiety, depression and altered decision making that accompany drug use/abuse. Starting with the opioid receptors, the laboratory demonstrated the in vivo relevance of altered signaling bias in addiction disorders. Specifically, her team demonstrated that altering the signaling bias of morphine so that it mimicked that of endorphin, one of our body’s endogenous opioids, could prevent the development of tolerance, dependence and addiction to this drug without adversely affecting analgesia.