Nicole Lewellyn Schramm-Sapyta

Nicole Lewellyn Schramm-Sapyta

Associate Professor of the Practice in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

External Address: 
308 Research Dr Room M055, Box 91003, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
308 Research Dr Room M055, Box 91003, Durham, NC 27708


Drug Addiction is a complex disease with genetic, psychological, and societal causes and consequences.  We know that some people can take drugs recreationally for years, while others quickly fall victim to addiction.  What causes this distinction?  And, how can we help those who suffer from addiction?  I have worked in rodent models for many years, examining the neurobiological bases of vulnerability.  I have shown that adolescence is one factor in determining vulnerability:  adolescent drug takers are less susceptible to the negative (use-limiting) effects of drugs of abuse, such as hangover.  Furthermore, adolescents are, in some cases, more susceptible to the rewarding effects (such as the “high”).  However, the most vulnerable adolescents are those who have underlying psychopathology, such as anxiety and depression.  More recently, I have become interested in the goal of eliminating the stigma attached to addiction.  Through education and outreach, everyone can understand that no one takes drugs with the intention of becoming addicted, and that the currently available treatments can go a long way to improving the lives of people with addiction.  I also examine these issues in the context of the criminal justice system and other available resources.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University 2000

Selected Grants

Role of HPA Axis in Adolescent Vulnerability to Drug Addiction awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2006 to 2011

Funke, Mary, et al. “Increasing Naloxone Prescribing in the Emergency Department Through Education and Electronic Medical Record Work-Aids.Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf, vol. 47, no. 6, June 2021, pp. 364–75. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.jcjq.2021.03.002. Full Text

Gunn, Alexander H., et al. “The Emergency Department as an Opportunity for Naloxone Distribution.The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 19, no. 6, Nov. 2018, pp. 1036–42. Epmc, doi:10.5811/westjem.2018.8.38829. Full Text Open Access Copy

Gunn, Alexander H., et al. “Running the Numbers: County Level Dynamics of Heroin Mortality in North Carolina.North Carolina Medical Journal, vol. 79, no. 3, May 2018, pp. 195–200. Epmc, doi:10.18043/ncm.79.3.195. Full Text

Muzyk, Andrew J., et al. “Utilizing Bloom's taxonomy to design a substance use disorders course for health professions students.Subst Abus, vol. 39, no. 3, 2018, pp. 348–53. Pubmed, doi:10.1080/08897077.2018.1436634. Full Text

Muzyk, Andrew J., et al. “An Interprofessional Course on Substance Use Disorders for Health Professions Students.Acad Med, vol. 92, no. 12, Dec. 2017, pp. 1704–08. Pubmed, doi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000001766. Full Text

Miller, Kelsey M., et al. “Behavioral Inefficiency on a Risky Decision-Making Task in Adulthood after Adolescent Intermittent Ethanol Exposure in Rats.Sci Rep, vol. 7, no. 1, July 2017, p. 4680. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-04704-7. Full Text

Marasco, Christina C., et al. “Systems-level view of cocaine addiction: the interconnection of the immune and nervous systems.Experimental Biology and Medicine (Maywood, N.J.), vol. 239, no. 11, Nov. 2014, pp. 1433–42. Epmc, doi:10.1177/1535370214537747. Full Text

Goodwin, Cody R., et al. “Phenotypic mapping of metabolic profiles using self-organizing maps of high-dimensional mass spectrometry data.Analytical Chemistry, vol. 86, no. 13, July 2014, pp. 6563–71. Epmc, doi:10.1021/ac5010794. Full Text

Schramm-Sapyta, Nicole L., et al. “Effect of sex on ethanol consumption and conditioned taste aversion in adolescent and adult rats.Psychopharmacology (Berl), vol. 231, no. 8, Apr. 2014, pp. 1831–39. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s00213-013-3319-y. Full Text

Suarez, Edward C., and Nicole L. Schramm-Sapyta. “Race differences in the relation of vitamins A, C, E, and β-carotene to metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers.Nutr Res, vol. 34, no. 1, Jan. 2014, pp. 1–10. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2013.10.001. Full Text