Amir H. Rezvani

Amir H. Rezvani

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

External Address: 
323 Foster St., Durham, NC 27701
Internal Office Address: 
Box 104790, Dept. of Psychiatry, Durham, NC 27710
Office Hours: 
By appointment.


My research and teaching interests have been primarily focused on the following areas:

Alcoholism: I work with "alcoholic" rats with genetic predisposition!" We use selectively-bred alcohol preferring rats as an animal model of human alcoholism for developing better pharmacological treatments for alcoholism. Recently, we are working on several novel promissing "anti-craving" compounds for the treatment of alcoholism. We are also studing the interaction bewteen alcohol drinking and nicotine intake.

Nicotine Addiction: We have been studying age and sex differences in i.v. nicotine self-administration in rats. We have found that pattern of drug intake is both age- and sex-dependent. Our lab is also exploring different neuronal targets for developing better pharmacologic treatment for nicotine addiction.

Sustained Attention: Another aspect of our research is studying the role of the neuronal nicotinic and other neuronal systems in sustained attention using a rodent model. We have shown, nicotine (not smoking!) and nicotinic compounds improve attention in rats. A majority of people with schizophrenia smoke and they smoke heavily. Thus, it is important to understand the interaction of antipsychotic medications and nicotine in sustained attention. This has been another aspect of our research with interesting results. Presently, we are testing novel nicotinic compounds for improving pharmacologically-impaired sustained attention.

Teaching: I love to teach and interact with students. Since arriving at Duke in 1999, I have been team-teaching the popular alcohol course (Psych 206-01R; Alcohol: Brain, Society and Individual). I also enjoy mentoring undergrad students who are interested in science and enjoy working in the lab with cute little creatures!.

Community: I am a member of the Board of Directors of Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), a self-supported therapeutic community in Durham. I also give seminars and workshops on addiction around the country.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 1983

Selected Grants

Paternal Transgenerational Epigenetic Legacy from Use of Cannabis awarded by John Templeton Foundation (Co Investigator). 2017 to 2021

Reinforcing effect of nicotine alone vs. nicotine plus other chemicals in tobacco awarded by Rose Research Center, LLC (Co Investigator). 2019 to 2020

Study of Novel Treatment to Prevent Acquisition of Opiate Self-Administration in Rats awarded by Amygdala Neurosciences Inc. (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

Targeted tobacco regulatory science: Nicotine dose effects in animal models of smoking initiation in vulnerable adolescent subpopulations awarded by Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

Nicotinic Receptor Desensitization to Reduce Drug Self-Administration: Project 2 awarded by Georgetown University (Co Investigator). 2010 to 2015

Adolescence: A Sensitive Period for Nicotine Addiction awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2004 to 2010

Nicotinic-Antipsychotic Drug Interactions and Cognition awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2001 to 2006

Rezvani, A. H., et al. “Oral 18-Methoxycoronaridine (18-MC) Decreases Nicotine Self-Administration in Rats.” Neuroscience of Nicotine: Mechanisms and Treatment, 2019, pp. 493–97. Scopus, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-813035-3.00059-9. Full Text

Rezvani, A. H. “Involvement of the NMDA system in learning and memory.” Animal Models of Cognitive Impairment, 2006, pp. 37–48.

Levin, E. D., and A. H. Rezvani. “Nicotinic involvement in cognitive function of rats.” Nicotinic Receptors in the Nervous System, 2001, pp. 167–78.

Rezvani, Amir H., et al. “Time-dependent effects of nicotine on reversal of dizocilpine-induced attentional impairment in female rats.Pharmacol Biochem Behav, vol. 215, Apr. 2022, p. 173359. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2022.173359. Full Text

Levin, Edward D., et al. “Chronic infusions of mecamylamine into the medial habenula: Effects on nicotine self-administration in rats.Behav Brain Res, vol. 416, Jan. 2022, p. 113574. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113574. Full Text

Levin, Edward D., et al. “Self-administration by female rats of low doses of nicotine alone vs. nicotine in tobacco smoke extract.Drug Alcohol Depend, vol. 228, Nov. 2021, p. 109073. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.109073. Full Text

Rezvani, Amir H., et al. “Differential behavioral functioning in the offspring of rats with high vs. low self-administration of the opioid agonist remifentanil.Eur J Pharmacol, vol. 909, Oct. 2021, p. 174407. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.174407. Full Text

Levin, Edward D., et al. “Correction to: Amitifadine, a triple reuptake inhibitor, reduces self-administration of the opiate remifentanil in rats.Psychopharmacology (Berl), vol. 238, no. 4, Apr. 2021, p. 1227. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s00213-021-05794-y. Full Text

Holloway, Zade R., et al. “Paternal cannabis extract exposure in rats: Preconception timing effects on neurodevelopmental behavior in offspring.Neurotoxicology, vol. 81, Dec. 2020, pp. 180–88. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.neuro.2020.10.007. Full Text

Levin, Edward D., et al. “Amitifadine, a triple reuptake inhibitor, reduces self-administration of the opiate remifentanil in rats.Psychopharmacology (Berl), vol. 237, no. 6, June 2020, pp. 1681–89. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s00213-020-05489-w. Full Text

Blair, Graham, et al. “Dextromethorphan and bupropion reduces high level remifentanil self-administration in rats.Pharmacol Biochem Behav, vol. 193, June 2020, p. 172919. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2020.172919. Full Text Open Access Copy


Rezvani, Amir H., and Edward D. Levin. “Assessment of pregnenolone effects on alcohol intake and preference in male alcohol preferring (P) rats.Eur J Pharmacol, vol. 740, 2014, pp. 53–57. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2014.07.003. Full Text