In his first year as a regular title series Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science (Behavioral Science) and as Director of the of the Neurobehavioral Systems Lab (NSL) of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine (UK COM), Dr. Wesley focused on integrating formal teaching and mentoring into his academic portfolio. He continued establishing and growing his independent and collaborative research program. Dr. Wesley also expanded his service efforts across UK and the local and national scientific communities. Finally, he engaged in several new career and professional development initiatives. In 2018, Dr. Wesley designed, staffed and equipped the new 1800ft2 off-campus NSL research facility. He hired Dr. Levi Bolin as a full-time employee and mentored three students enrolled in the Independent Work in Neuroscience class (BIO 394. Dr. Wesley also guest lectured in the Introduction to Neuroscience Techniques course (BIO 305). Both BIO 394 and BIO 305 are offered by the Neuroscience Program in the UK College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). Importantly, Dr. Wesley formalized his teaching service to UK COM as a Preceptor to first-year medical students enrolled in his Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM; MD 811) class offered by Behavioral Science in UK COM. Dr. Wesley also served as Outside Examiner on the Dissertation Committee of Dr. Jonathan Chow (Ph.D. defense 11/12/18) and agreed to serve as an Advisory Committee Member to Mrs. Catherine Troop in the Ph.D. program of the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling in the UK College of Education. Dr. Wesley was awarded two extramural grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2018: one as Principal Investigator (PI) and one as a Multiple Principal Investigator (MPI). Dr. Wesley’s career development and training award (K01 DA043652) examines the neural mechanisms of cannabinoid-impaired decision making in emerging adults. That project integrates rigorous methodological techniques from clinical pharmacology with innovative technologies from neuroscience, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). His MPI award (R01 DA045023) is a reciprocal translational project together with Drs. Josh Lile (COM, Behavioral Science) and Josh Beckmann (A&S, Psychology). That project combines animal and human models of addiction with neuroimaging and computational reinforcement learning models of behavior to examine dynamic choice related to cocaine use disorder. Dr. Wesley also received a seventh percentile score on a third extramural grant submission (R01 DA047368; NIDA) and is awaiting a funding decision for that MPI submission. That project proposes to investigate the neurobehavioral mechanisms of opioid use in effort to help design more effective treatment strategies for opioid addiction. In addition to those three awards totaling $7.4 million, Dr. Wesley submitted two additional extramural grants that are currently under review, one as MPI (R21 AA027803 with Dr. Mark Fillmore, UK A&S, Psychology) and one as co-investigator (R21 DA049130 with Dr. Bill Stoops, UK COM, Behavioral Science). Dr. Wesley had an additional three MPI extramural grant submissions that were not funded. Lastly, Dr. Wesley successfully competed for an intramural equipment grant managed by the Office of the Vice President for Research at UK. That award supported the purchase of a second TMS device to be used for the NSL’s collaborative research initiatives and to explore the potential for offering clinical TMS at UK. Dr. Wesley’s research efforts resulted in two published peer-reviewed research manuscripts, one as first-author and one as supporting author. Dr. Wesley attended two scientific conferences in 2018. He presented primary research at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) annual meeting in San Diego, CA and he served as Chair and speaker for a TMS symposium at the American Psychological Association (APA) annual meeting in San Francisco, CA. Another significant scientific community service activity was acting as the Program Chair for Division 28 (Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse) at the 2018 APA annual convention. Dr. Wesley also served as ad-hoc reviewer on eight manuscripts submitted to Addiction Biology, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, NeuroImage, NeuroImage: Clinical, Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior and Psychopharmacology. Dr. Wesley received a 2018 certification in clinical TMS from MagVenture to compliment his 2017 certification in research TMS from the Medical University in South Carolina. He served on faculty search and recruitment committees for both Behavioral Science and Psychology in UK COM and UK A&S, respectively. Dr. Wesley joined the Working Group for Imaging Science initiative of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Center (MRISC) of UK COM in 2018. Finally, Dr. Wesley volunteered at the annual CPDD outreach event where he served food to the homeless community of San Francisco.
Dr. Wesley uses neuroimaging, noninvasive brain stimulation, clinical pharmacology and behavioral techniques to understand neurobehavioral dysfunctions existing in many clinical disorders, especially those characterized by a lack of volitional control over thoughts, feelings and actions. His primary research focuses on deficits in decision-making and affective processes in individuals with substance use disorders, however, he is also interested in other conditions with overlapping symptomatology including stroke and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Principal Investigator, K01DA043652, NIH/NIDA
Neural Mechanisms of Cannabinoid-Impaired Decision-Making in Emerging Adults
Principal Investigator, R01DA045023, NIH/NIDA
A Translational Determination of the Neurobehavioral Mechanisms of Maladaptive Choice in Cocaine Use Disorder
Co-Investigator, R01DA036550, NIH/NIDA
Human lab screening of pregabalin & tiagabine for cannabis dependence
Principal Investigator, R01 DA 047368-01, NIH/NIDA
A Translational Determination of the Mechanisms of Maladaptive Choice in Opioid Use Disorder
Co-Investigator, P50 DA005312, National Institutes of Health, NIDA
CDART: Center for drug abuse research translation.
Recipient and Principal Investigator, Loan Repayment Program, National Institutes of Health, NIMHD
Consultant, 1542848, National Science Foundation, INSPIRE
Neural and Genetic Factors Underlying Individual and Phylogenetic Variation in Communication
Wesley MJ*, Vilares I*, Ahn WY, Bonnie RJ, Hoffman M, Jones OD, Morse SJ, Yaffe G, Lohrenz T, Montague PR (2017) Predicting the knowledge-recklessness distinction in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114(12): 3222-7. *Equal Contribution
Wesley MJ, Lile JA, Fillmore MT, Porrino LJ (2017) Neurophysiological capacity in a working memory task differentiates dependent from nondependent heavy drinkers and controls. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. In press.
Wesley MJ, Lile JA, Hanlon CA, Porrino LJ (2016) Abnormal medial prefrontal cortex activity in heavy cannabis users during conscious emotional evaluation. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 233(6): 1035-44.
Lile JA, Wesley MJ, Kelly TH, Hays LR (2016). Separate and combined effects of gabapentin and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol in humans discriminating ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinols. Behavioural pharmacology. 27(2-3 Spec Issue): 215-24.
Wesley MJ, Lohrenz T, Koffarnus MN, McClure SM, De La Garza R, 2nd, Salas R, Thompson-Lake DG, Newton TF, Bickel WK, Montague PR (2014) Choosing money over drugs: The neural underpinnings of difficult choice in chronic cocaine users. Journal of addiction. 189853.
Wesley MJ, Bickel WK (2014). Remember the Future II: Meta-analyses and Functional Overlap of Working Memory and Delay Discounting. Biological Psychiatry. 75(6): 435-48.
Moussa MN, Wesley MJ, Porrino LJ, Hayasaka S, Bechara A, Burdette JH, Laurienti PJ (2014) Age-related differences in advantageous decision making are associated with distinct differences in functional community structure. Brain connectivity. 4(3): 193-202.
Wesley MJ, Hanlon CA, Porrino LJ (2011)Poor decision-making by chronic marijuana users is associated with decreased functional responsiveness to negative consequences. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 191(1): 51-9.
Hanlon CA, Wesley MJ, Stapleton JR, Laurienti PJ, Porrino LJ (2011) The association between frontal-striatal connectivity and sensorimotor control in cocaine users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 115(3): 240-3.
Hanlon CA, Wesley MJ, Roth AJ, Miller MD, Porrino LJ (2010) Loss of laterality in chronic cocaine users: an fMRI investigation of sensorimotor control. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 181(1): 15-23.