- 117 Medical Behavioral Science Building
One focus of Dr. Lile’s research efforts is the study of cannabis-use disorder. Currently, this work is supported by an R01 to evaluate the voltage-dependent calcium channel ligand pregabalin as a medication for cannabis-use disorder, as determined using outpatient maintenance procedures to determine pharmacotherapy effects on cannabis use in the laboratory and in the natural environment. A study evaluating a lower dose of pregabalin (300 mg/day) was completed this year and a new study testing a higher dose (450 mg/day) was initiated. Dr. Lile is also collaborating with Dr. Kristin Ashford to examine the impact of cannabis use on perinatal responsiveness and birth outcomes. In addition, he submitted an MPI R01 (co-PI Michael Wesley) application to use transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) to determine the brain regions involved in drug use decisions in cannabis users. This year, Dr. Lile published two senior authored and one co-authored manuscript based on research on cannabis-use disorder. In addition, he was invited to present his work in this area as a Grand Rounds presentation to the UK Department of Psychiatry, at the Carolina Cannabinoid Collaborative conference and at a FDA workgroup convened to reach a consensus on the outcomes that should be included in clinical trials for cannabis use disorder. This work also yielded six conference presentations. Lastly, Dr. Lile is serving as a primary mentor on a K01 award (PI Michael Wesley) that is using TMS to determine the neural mechanisms of cannabis intoxication. Another active area of research for Dr. Lile is the determination of underlying mechanisms of stimulant-use disorder and the development of interventions. This year, Dr. Lile completed his R01 that successfully developed and validated a translational platform to study cocaine choice in monkeys and humans in collaboration with colleagues at Virginia Commonwealth University. He presented results from this research at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) meeting. An MPI R01 (co-PIs Michael Wesley and Josh Beckmann) to extend this project was funded this year, which will use a reinforcement learning framework, neuroscience methods and translational procedures in rats and humans to determine the neurobehavioral basis of maladaptive cocaine choice. Drs. Lile, Wesley and Beckmann also submitted an application using similar methods to determine the neurobehavioral basis of withdrawal motivated disordered opioid choice, which received a 7th percentile score during SRG review and is being considered for funding. Dr. Lile also served as a Co-Investigator on seven additional R-level awards this year, and is a Co-Investigator on six additional R-level grants in this area that are under review. His involvement in stimulant research resulted in one published manuscript, an invited conference presentation and five additional conference presentations. A third, and relatively new, area of research for Dr. Lile relates to alcohol use disorder. He is collaborating on two funded projects, one that is screening n-acetylcysteine as a medication for alcohol use disorder, and another that is testing a combination of drugs to target multiple monoamine systems that are dysregulated in alcoholics. In addition to these research activities, Dr. Lile has been engaged in mentoring early career scientists. More specifically, he has mentored Dr. Michael Wesley, an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science, on incorporating clinical pharmacology techniques into his neuroimaging and electrical brain stimulation research, and as noted above, he is serving as a primary mentor on Dr. Wesley’s K01 project. Drs. Wesley and Lile also formed a team of inventors that successfully competed for financial support from NIDA and the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation to start a company, Largus Neural Systems, to develop a neuromodulatory device for substance use disorders, and they are currently seeking funding to advance this innovation. Dr. Lile is serving as a co-primary mentor for Drs. Craig Beavers and Kevin Hatton, two Ph.D. candidates in the UK Clinical and Translational Science (CTS) program. He is also serving as co-mentor for a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Joe Alcorn, a doctoral dissertation committee member for Ginny Weiss, Arit Harvanko, Aaron Smith and Justin Strickland, who are students in the Psychology graduate program, and a research mentor for Lyndsey Armes, an undergraduate student. Dr. Lile has continued to provide service to the academic and research community. In 2018, he completed a term on the CPDD Long Range Planning Committee and was appointed for a new term to the Awards for Excellence Committee. He also served as a grant reviewer for the internal pilot research program supported by the UK CCTS and as an ad hoc member of the NIH Endocrinology, Metabolism, Nutrition, and Reproductive Sciences Integrated Review Group Special Emphasis Panel for Specialized Centers of Research Excellence on Sex Differences. Dr. Lile remains on the editorial board for Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology and reviewed 9 manuscripts for various journals. Lastly, he has continued his service as a regular member and expedited reviewer for the University of Kentucky Institutional Review Board.