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Vijay Ramchandani, Ph.D.

Section on Human Psychopharmacology

Building 10 Room 2-2352
Center Drive
Bethesda MD 20892
Office: 301-402-8527

Vijay A. Ramchandani obtained his undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Bombay University in India in 1990, and his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA in 1996. From 1996 to 2002, he worked at the Alcohol Research Center at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, first as a Research Associate and then as an Assistant Scientist and Part-time Assistant Professor. In 2003, Dr. Ramchandani joined NIAAA as a Staff Scientist in the Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies (LCTS), and in 2007, he became Chief of the Unit on Human Physiology and Pharmacokinetics. In March 2010, Dr. Ramchandani was appointed as a Tenure-track Investigator and Acting Chief of the Section on Human Psychopharmacology.

The research conducted by our section is focused on characterizing the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of alcohol in humans using behavioral, neuroendocrine, electrophysiological and functional imaging measures. These studies, conducted in social and high-risk drinkers, enable the evaluation of genetic and environmental risk factors influencing the acute and adaptive responses to alcohol. We are also conducting studies to develop human laboratory paradigms that can be used to screen novel potential treatments for alcoholism in terms of their ability to alter the pharmacological effects of alcohol and/or alcohol self-administration behavior.

Two alcohol administration methods form the foundation of our work: (1) the alcohol clamp, and (2) computer-assisted self-infusion of ethanol (CASE). Both methods employ intravenous (IV) administration of alcohol solutions, which when combined with a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model for ethanol, results in systemic (and therefore brain) alcohol exposures that are extremely precise and well-controlled. These methods provide a unique platform for studies evaluating the influence of risk factors including sex, age, drinking history and genetic polymorphisms on alcohol responses and alcohol self-administration behavior in human laboratory studies.

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  • 1) Gowin JL, Sloan ME, Stangl BL, Vatsalya V, Ramchandani VA (2017)
  • Vulnerability for Alcohol Use Disorder and Rate of Alcohol Consumption
  • Am J Psychiatry, appiajp201716101180
  • 2) Zimmermann US, O'Connor S, Ramchandani VA (2013)
  • Modeling alcohol self-administration in the human laboratory
  • Curr Top Behav Neurosci, 13, 315-53
  • 3) Gilman JM, Ramchandani VA, Crouss T, Hommer DW (2012)
  • Subjective and neural responses to intravenous alcohol in young adults with light and heavy drinking patterns
  • Neuropsychopharmacology, 37(2), 467-77
  • 4) Ramchandani VA, Umhau J, Pavon FJ, Ruiz-Velasco V, Margas W, Sun H, Damadzic R, Eskay R, Schoor M, Thorsell A, Schwandt ML, Sommer WH, George DT, Parsons LH, Herscovitch P, Hommer D, Heilig M (2011)
  • . A genetic determinant of the striatal dopamine response to alcohol in men
  • Mol Psychiatry, 16(8), 809-17
  • 5) Gilman JM, Ramchandani VA, Davis MB, Bjork JM, Hommer DW (2008)
  • Why we like to drink: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study of the rewarding and anxiolytic effects of alcohol
  • J Neurosci, 28(18), 4583-91
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