Joanna Peris, Ph.D.

Joanna Peris

Check Out Dr. Peris’s Podcast Episode

Contact Information

Department of Pharmacodynamics
PO Box 100487
University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32610-0487
Office: MSB P1-29
Phone: (352) 273-7688
Website: Department of Pharmacodynamics Profile


Associate Director, University of Florida Center for Addiction Research & Education

Associate Professor Department of Pharmacodynamics, College of Pharmacy.


Ph.D 1984, Department of Behavioral Neurosciences, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland OR
Post-doctoral fellow, 1984-1988, Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver CO.

Research Interests

The influence of alcohol and cocaine on amino acid neurochemistry. Dr. Peris studies how previous ethanol exposure influences the behavioral and neurochemical characteristics of ethanol self-administration in rats. Dr. Peris’ lab is actively studying the neurochemical mechanisms of ethanol addiction. As part of this research, they measure how amino acid neurotransmission in brain regions highly implicated in the addiction process (e.g., nucleus accumbens, central nucleus of the amygdala) are altered in rats self-administering ethanol. As pioneered by Dr. R. T. Kennedy, the combination of in vivo microdialysis in awake behaving animals with on-line capillary electrophoresis/laser-induced fluorescence analysis provides the ability to measure second-to-second fluctuations in brain amino acid levels including glycine, GABA and glutamate, during periods of ethanol craving and self-administration. Her lab was the first to report increased glycine levels in nucleus accumbens associated with increased motivation for ethanol reward. In collaboration with Dr. Neil Rowland of the UF Department of Psychology, they developed the “jello shot” model, in which rats reliably self-administer ethanol at intoxicating levels without food or liquid deprivation, which has proved useful for testing potential pharmacotherapies that decrease ethanol intake without altering caloric intake or other reinforced behaviors. Dr. Peris’ newest research focus addresses how oxytocin regulates these reward pathways and ultimately, ethanol self-administration.

Recent Publications

  • Li, Z., Zharikova, A., Vaughan, C. H., Bastian, J., Zandy, S., Esperon, L., Rowland N. E. & Peris J. Intermittent high-dose ethanol exposures increase motivation for operant ethanol self-administration: possible neurochemical mechanism. Brain Res. 1310: 142-153, 2010. PMCID: PMC2812672
  • Li, Z., Boules, M., Williams, K., Peris, J. & Richelson, E. The novel neurotensin analog NT69L blocks phencyclidine (PCP)-induced increases in locomotor activity and PCP-induced increases in monoamine and amino acids levels in the medial prefrontal cortex. Brain Res. 1311:28-36, 2010.
  • Le HT, Hirko AC, Thinschmidt JS, Grant M, Li Z, Peris J, King MA, Hughes JA, Song S. The protective effects of plasma gelsolin on stroke outcome in rats. Exp Transl Stroke Med. 3:13-21, 2011. PMCID: PMC3224589
  • Kasper, J., Tikamdas, R., Kim, M. S., MacFadyen, K., Aramini, R., Ladd, J., Bisceglia, S., Booth, R. G. & Peris, J. The serotonin-2 receptor modulator, (-)-transPAT, decreases voluntary ethanol consumption in rats. Eur. J. Pharmacology, 718:98-104, 2013. PMCID: PMC3833445
  • Moldthan, H.L., Hirko, A.C., Thinschmidt, J.S., Grant, M., Li, Z., Peris, J., King, M.A., Hughes, J.A. & Song, S. Alpha 1-Antitrypsin therapy mitigated ischemic stroke damage in rats. J. Stroke Cerebrovasc. Dis, 23:355-363, 2014.
  • Peris, J., Rhodes, N., McCullough, B., Aramini R. & Zharikova, A. Intermittent high dose ethanol exposure increases ethanol preference in rats. J. Stud. Alc. Drugs, 76:165-73, 2015. PMCID: PMC4263777
  • Kasper, J., Booth, R.G. & Peris, J. Serotonin-2C receptor agonists decrease potassium-stimulated GABA release in the nucleus accumbens. Synapse 69:78-85, 2015.
  • MacFadyen, K., Loveless, R., DeLucca, B., Wardley, K, Deogan, S., Thomas, C. & Peris, J. Peripheral oxytocin administration reduces ethanol consumption in rats. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 140:27-32, 2016. PMID: 26519603
  • Peris, J., MacFadyen, K., Smith, J., Wang, L., deKloet, A.D., & Krause, E. G. Oxytocin receptors are expressed on dopamine and glutamate neurons in the mouse ventral tegmental area that project to nucleus accumbens and other mesolimbic targets, Journal of Comparative Neurology, 525:1094-1108, 2017. PMID: 27615433
  • Stennett, B. A., Frankowski, J. C., Peris, J. & Knackstedt, L. A. Ceftriaxone reduces alcohol intake in outbred rats while upregulating xCT in the nucleus accumbens. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 159:18-23, 2017.

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