Patrick M. Beardsley, Ph.D.


Patrick M. Beardsley, Ph.D.

Department: Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Phone: (804) 828-5185

Fax: (804) 828-2117


Robert Blackwell Smith Building, Room 756B
410 North 12th Street
Box 980613
Richmond, Virginia 23298


  • University of Minnesota, 1982

Research interests

  • Behavioral pharmacology of drugs of abuse
  • Medication development for CNS disorders

The way in which a drug can control or modify behavior is dependent upon several factors. The identification of these controlling factors and their interrelationships with the direct pharmacological actions of drugs is the domain of the science of behavioral pharmacology. Our laboratories are concerned with these questions of behavioral pharmacology. In particular, we are interested in answering questions about the nature of the controlling determinants involved in drug abuse and the development of medications for treating drug abuse and other neurological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and psychosis.

We seek leads to the answers of these questions by using a variety of laboratory animal models. For drug abuse related projects, we use three models in particular, each of which has close parallels to human experimental procedures or clinical phenomena. These models include physical dependence, self-administration and drug-discrimination procedures that model the withdrawal effects of drugs, their rewarding effects and their subjective effects, respectively. For developing medications for other neurological disorders, we use a variety of behavioral pharmacological procedures including Pavlovian-conditioned fear, startle and locomotor activity procedures. We collaborate with biochemists and geneticists who use additional procedures such as metabolomics and DNA methylation analyses to further help our understanding of the mechanisms mediating a drug’s or a neurological disease’s effects for the development of medications.

Selected publications

Beardsley, P.M., Zhang, Y., 2018. Synthetic Opioids. Handb Exp Pharmacol 252, 353–381.

Enga, R.M., Jackson, A., Damaj, M.I., Beardsley, P.M., 2016. Oxycodone physical dependence and its oral self-administration in C57BL/6J mice. Eur J Pharmacol 789, 75–80.

Bespalov, AY, (А.Ю. Беспалова), Zvartau, E., (Э.Э. Звартау), Beardsley, PM, (П.Бирдсли), & Katz, JL, (Дж. Катца) (Eds). (2013). Textbook on Behavioral Pharmacology (Фармакология поведения). St. Petersburg, (Санкт-Петербург) Russia (Россия): Pavlov Medical University Press (Издательство СПбГМУ им. И.П. Павлова) (awardee of Best Medical & Pharmaceutical Textbook of the Year for Post-Graduate Studies, 2013; Russian Federation).

Beardsley, PM, and Hauser, KF (2014). Glial modulators as potential treatments of psychostimulant abuse. Advances in Pharmacology, 69, 1-69. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-420118-7.00001-9

Beardsley, PM, and Shelton, KL (2012). Prime-, stress-, and cue-induced reinstatement of extinguished drug-reinforced responding in rats: cocaine as the prototypical drug of abuse. Current Protocols Neuroscience, Chapter 9(Unit 9.39), 1-40. doi: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0939s61

Beardsley, PM, Thomas, BF, & McMahon, LR (2009). Cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonists as potential pharmacotherapies for drug abuse disorders. Int Rev Psychiatry, 21(2), 134-142. doi: 10.1080/09540260902782786


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