Frances M. Leslie

Professor, Pharmacology
School of Medicine

Joint Appointment, Anatomy & Neurobiology
School of Medicine

Dean, Graduate Division

PH.D., Aberdeen University, Scotland, 1977

Phone: (949) 824-6699, 5437, 6351
Fax: (949) 824-4855

University of California, Irvine
Dept of Pharmacology, Graduate Division
367C Med Surge 2/ZC4625, 155 C Aldrich Hall/ZC3180
Mail Code: 4625
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Frances M. Leslie

Addiction, drugs of abuse, brain development
URLs Pharmacology Home Page
Dr. Leslie's Lab
See below for selected publications or click here for additional publication listings available via PubMed
2005, Athalie Clarke Research Award, University of California, Irvine
Frances Leslie, Ph.D., is a neuropharmacologist who is primarily interested in the effects of drugs of abuse on developing brain. Her research team uses an integrative range of experimental approaches, from molecular biology to animal behavior, to determine whether abused drugs have unique effects at various stages of brain development. The abused drugs currently under investigation include tobacco, cocaine and amphetamine. Although all stages of brain development are studied, two periods are of particular interest: the prenatal period and adolescence.

In order to identify mechanisms underlying the toxic effects of maternal drug use on the offspring, we are conducting a detailed analysis of the effects of drug exposure on fetal brain. The long-term consequences of fetal drug exposure on subsequent neurochemistry and behavior of adolescent and adult animals are examined. We are also currently studying the effects of therapeutic interventions, including anti-drug vaccines during pregnancy.

A major focus of the lab’s research is currently on analysis of drug responses during adolescence. Although most initiation of human drug use occurs during adolescence, it is not known whether this reflects social or biological factors. Our research team is evaluating acute and chronic effects of drugs during this developmental period, and the mechanisms underlying observed developmental differences. These groundbreaking studies suggest that many abused drugs have unique effects on adolescent brain.
Available Technologies
Publications Recent Publications:

Winzer-Serhan, U.H. and Leslie, F.M. (2005) Expression of ?5 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit mRNA during hippocampal and cortical development. J. Comp. Neurol., 481, 19-30.

Chattopadhyay, S., Xue, B., Bagnera, R., Leslie, F.M., Christian, B.T., Pichika, R., Shi, B., Collins, D., Narayanan, T.K., Potkin, S.G. and Mukherjee, J. (2005) Synthesis and biological evaluation of nicotine a4b2 receptor radioligand, 5-(3'-18F-Fluoropropyl)-3-(2-(S)-Pyrrolidinyl)methoxy)Pyridine (18F-Nifrolidine) in rodents and imaging by PET in non-human primate. J. Nuc. Med., 46, 130-140.

Kane, J.K., Hwang, Y.Y., Konu, O., Loughlin, S.E., Leslie, F.M. and Li, M.D. (2005) Regulation of Homer and group I metabotropic receptors by nicotine. Eur. J. Neurosci., 21, 1145-1154.

Ng, K.L., Li, J.-D., Cheng, M.Y., Leslie, F.M., Lee, A.G. and Zhou, Q.-Y. (2005) Dependence of olfactory bulb neurogenesis on prokineticin 2 signaling. Science, 308, 1923-1927.

Belluzzi, J.D., Wang, R. and Leslie, F.M. (2005) Acetaldehyde enhances nicotine self-administration in adolescent rats. Neuropsychopharm., 30, 705-712.

Oddo, S., Caccamo, A., Green, K., Liang, K., Tran, L., Chen, Y., Leslie, F.M. and LaFerla, F.M. (2005) Chronic nicotine administration exacerbates tau pathology in a transgenic model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 102, 3046-3051.

Villegier, A.S., Salomon, L., Granon, S., Changeux, J.P., Glowinski, J., Belluzzi, J.D., Leslie, F.M. and Tassin, J.P. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors allow locomotor and rewarding responses to nicotine. (2006) Neuropsychopharm., 31, 1704-1713.

Cheng, M.Y., Leslie, F.M. and Zhou, Q.-Y. (2006) Expression of prokineticins and their receptors in adult mouse brain. J. Comp. Neurol., 498, 796-809.

Pentel, P.R., Keyler, D.E., Chen, Y., LeSage, M.G. and Leslie, F.M. (2006) Vaccination against nicotine does not prevent nicotine–induced changes in fetal nicotinic receptor binding and c-fos mRNA expression. Neurotoxicol. & Teratol., 28, 589-596.

Liang, K., Hsieh, C.Y., Poytress, B.S., Weinberger, N.M., Chen, Y., Leslie, F.M. and Metherate, R. (2006) Neonatal nicotine exposure impairs nicotinic enhancement of central auditory processing and auditory learning in adult rats. Eur. J. Neurosci., 24, 857-866.

Park, M.K., Loughlin, S.E. and Leslie, F.M. (2006) Gestational nicotine-induced changes in adolescent neuronal activity. Brain Res., 1094, 119-126.

Loughlin, S.E., Islas, M.I., Cheng, M. Y., Lee, A.G., Villegier, A.S. and Leslie, F.M. (2006) Nicotine modulation of stress-related peptide neurons. J. Comp. Neurol., 497, 575-88.

O’Leary, K.T. and Leslie, F.M. (2006) Enhanced nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-mediated [3H]norepinephrine release from neonatal rat hypothalamus. Neuropharmacology, 50, 81-88.

Azam, L., Chen, Y. and Leslie, F.M. (2007) Developmental regulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors within midbrain dopamine neurons. Neuroscience, 144:1347-60.

McQuown, S. C., Belluzzi, J.D. and Leslie, F.M. (2007) Low dose nicotine treatment during early adolescence increases subsequent cocaine reward. Neurotoxicol. & Teratol., 29:66-73.

Easwaramoorthy, B., Pichika, R., Collins, D., Potkin, S.G., Leslie, F.M. and Mukherjee, J. (2007) Effect of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors on the binding of nicotinic ?4?2 receptor PET radiotracer, 18F-nifene: a measure of acetylcholine competition. Synapse, 61, 29-36.

Park, M.K., Belluzzi, J.D., Han, S.-H., Cao, J. and Leslie, F.M. (2007) Age, sex and early environment contribute to individual differences in nicotine/acetaldehyde-induced behavioral and endocrine responses in rats. Pharmacol., Biochem. & Behav., 86, 297-305.

Villégier, A.S., Lotfipour, S., McQuown, S.C., Belluzzi, J.D. and Leslie, F.M. (2007) Tranylcypromine enhancement of nicotine self-administration. Neuropharmacology, 52, 1415-1425.

Cao J., Lotfipour S., Loughlin S.E. and Leslie F.M. (2007) Adolescent maturation of cocaine-sensitive neural mechanisms. Neuropsychopharmology, 32, 2279-2289.

Cao, J., Belluzzi, J.D., Loughlin, S.E., Keyler, D.E., Pentel, P.R. and Leslie, F.M. (2007) Acetaldehyde, a major constituent of tobacco smoke, enhances behavioral, endocrine and neuronal responses to nicotine in adolescent and adult rats. Neuropsychopharmacology, 32, 2025-35.

Yoshimura, R.F., Hogenkamp, D.J., Li, W.Y., Tran, M.B., Belluzzi, J.D., Whittemore, E.R., Leslie, F.M. and Gee, K.W. (2007) Negative allosteric modulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors blocks nicotine self-administration in rats. J. Pharm. Exp. Ther., 323, 907-915.

Franke, R.M., Belluzzi, J.D. and Leslie, F.M. (2007) Gestational exposure to nicotine and monoamine oxidase inhibitors influences cocaine-induced locomotion in adolescent rats. Psychopharmacol., 195,117-24.

Gehricke, J-G., Loughlin, S.E., Whalen, C.K., Potkin, S.G., Fallon, J.H., Jamner, L.D., Belluzzi, J.D. and Leslie, F.M., 2007. Smoking to self medicate attentional and emotional dysfunctions. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 9, S523-S536, Suppl. 4.

Villégier, A.S., Lotfipour, S., Belluzzi, J.D. and Leslie, F.M. (2007) Involvement of alpha1-adrenergic receptors in tranylcypromine enhancement of nicotine self-administration., Psychopharmacology, 193, 457-65.

Dwyer J.B., Broide R.S., Leslie F.M. (2008) Nicotine and brain development. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 84, 30-44.
Grants Astraea Therapeutics LLC, Federal Flow Through from NIDA R43 DA033744, Dr. Nurulain Zaveri, Prime award P.I., #2012-UCI-033744, 07/01/12-03/31/13, $48,167 direct costs, Development of novel drugs for smoking cessation pharmacotherapy (Role: Subcontract P.I.).
UC Tobacco Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), 21RT-0136, 08/01/12-07/31/15, $275,155 direct costs, Non-nicotine tobacco constituents in reward: Age effects (Role: P.I.).
Department of Education (DOED) P116B100335, 10/01/10-09/30/13, $749,676 total costs, Diverse educational community and doctoral experience (DECADE) initiative (Role: P.I.), Admin. Dept: Graduate Division.
British Pharmacological Society
Society for Neuroscience
American Society for Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco
American Association for the Advancement of Science
New York Academy of Sciences
Graduate Programs Pharmacological Sciences

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology

Cellular and Molecular Biosciences

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Last updated 09/04/2012