Professor, Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program
Neuroscience Program Chair
Medical Partnership Faculty
616 Psychology Building
(706) 542-3105


Ph.D. Brown University, 1992

Postdoctoral Training

Neuropharmacology; Experimental Therapeutics Branch; NIMH

Research Interests

My research is in the area of Psychopharmacology. My broad interests concern the neurobiological basis of motivation and emotion. More specifically, I am interested in the neurobiological mechanisms responsible for stress resilience and regulation of affective motivation. Much of this work has focused on brain noradrenergic systems and galanin, which is the major peptide coexisting with norepinephrine.

Previous research in my laboratory has focused on changes in neurotransmitter systems that occur in rodent models of depression. Other studies have examined the neurobiological basis for the comorbidity of depression and drug abuse. My current research program focuses on the neurobiological effects of exercise. This research employs rodent models to study the relationship between exercise-induced regulation of neurotransmitter function and behavior. I am particularly interested in long-term changes in gene expression in the brain caused by exercise. Recent work has focused on the neurochemical basis for the antidepressant effects of exercise. These studies demonstrate that physical activity alters brain levels of neurotransmitters and/or neurotrophic factors that may ameliorate symptoms of depression. Other studies conducted in this laboratory have shown that exercise may enhance learning and memory through a similar mechanism. More recently, we have discovered that exercise exerts neuroprotective effects, and we are currently examining the role of the neurotransmitter galanin in these effects. These findings suggest that the capacity for exercise to prevent the neural degeneration associated with aging, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, or trauma may be mediated by discrete neural systems. We are currently studying the effects of exercise on the prevention of stress-induced relapse in rodent models of addiction.

Selected Publications

Simone, J., Bogue, E.A., Bhatti, D.L., Day, L.E. Farr, N.A., Grossman, A. M., and Holmes, P.V. (2015) Ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel alter cognition and anxiety in rats concurrent with a decrease in tyrosine hydroxylase expression in the locus coeruleus and brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression in the hippocampus.  Psychoneuroendocrinology, 62, 265-278.

Holmes, P. V., Reiss, J. I., Murray, P. S., Dishman, R. K., and Spradley, J. M. (2015). Chronic exercise dampens hippocampal glutamate overflow induced by kainic acid in rats. Behavioural Brain Research, 284, 19-23.

Sciolino, N. R., Smith, J. M., Stranahan, A. M., Freeman, K. G., Edwards, G. L., Weinshenker, D., and Holmes, P. V. (2015) Galanin mediates features of neural and behavioral stress resilience afforded by exercise. Neuropharmacology, 89, 255-264.

Ogbonmwan, Y. E., Schroeder, J. P., Holmes, P. V., and Weinshenker, D. (2015) The effects of post-extinction exercise on cocaine-primed and stress-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking in rats. Psychopharmacology, 232, 1395-1403.

Ogbonmwan, Y.E., *Sciolino, N.R., Groves-Chapman, J.L., Freeman, K.G., Edwards, G.L., Holmes, P.V., and Weinshenker, D. (2015) The galanin receptor agonist galnon attenuates cocaine-induced reinstatement and dopamine overflow in the frontal cortex.  Addiction Biology, 20. 701-713.

Monroe, D., Holmes, P., Koch, L., Britton, S., and Dishman, R. (2014) Striatal enkephalinergic differences in rats selectively bred for intrinsic running capacity. Brain Research, 1572, 11-17.

Epps, S.A., Kahn, A.B., Holmes, P.V., Boss-Williams, K.A., Weiss, J.M., Weinshenker, D. (2013) Antidepressant and anticonvulsant effects of exercise in a rat model of epilepsy and depression comorbidity. Epilepsy and Behavior, 29, 47-52.

Sciolino, N.R., Dishman, R.K., Holmes, P.V. (2012) Voluntary exercise offers anxiolytic potential and amplifies galanin gene expression in the locus coeruleus of the rat.  Behavioural Brain Research, 233, 191-200.

Groves-Chapman, J.L., Murray, P.S., Stevens, K.L., Monroe, D.C., Koch, L.G., Britton, S.L., Holmes, P.V., Dishman, R.K. (2011) Changes in mRNA levels for brain-derived neurotrophic factor after wheel running in rats selectively bred for high- and low-aerobic capacity. Brain Research, 1425, 90-97.


R01 DA027535: National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Effects of voluntary exercise on reinstatement of cocaine seeking," Principal Investigator, 2010-2015

R01 DA017963: National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Mechanism of disulfiram-induced cocaine abstinence": Co-investigator, 2006-2008

R29 MH59317: National Institute of Mental Health, "Stress reactivity, depression, and neuropeptide-Y" Principal Investigator, 1998-2004

R03 DA12120: National Institute on Drug Abuse, "New model of drug abuse and depression comorbidity": Principal Investigator, 1999-2001

R03 MH56415: National Institute of Mental Health, "Role of neuropeptide-Y in the olfactory bulbectomy syndrome": Principal Investigator, 1996-1997