- 128 Medical Behavioral Science Building
In September of 2017, Dr. Wesley was appointed as a Regular Title Series Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Medicine (COM). He was also appointed as Director of the Neurobehavioral Systems Lab (NSL) at UK COM. Some of Dr. Wesley’s other notable 2017 accomplishments are discussed in detail below.
In 2017, Dr. Wesley served as key personnel on a total of seven (7) extramural grant applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He was Principal Investigator (PI) on two R01 applications (1, 2), one K01 application (3) and one SBIR application (4). He also served as Co-Investigator (Co-I) on an P50 center application (5) and he served as a mentor on a F31 application (6) and a R36 application (7). Each application listing Dr. Wesley as PI or Co-I that was reviewed to date was discussed and received impact scores of 43 (P50), 28 (K01) and 25 (R01; 15% percentile on first review). Two applications are currently pending first review. Of the three scored applications, the total federal funds requested were $9,217,908 (P50), $825,253 (K01) and $3,679,942 (R01).
Throughout 2017 Dr. Wesley continued to serve as PI on two intramural pilot grants, one awarded from the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) and one awarded from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). These grants support research that is the first of its kind at UK and worldwide. They use simultaneous noninvasive brain stimulation, drug administration and neuroimaging to examine the neurobehavioral effects of substance use disorders. Lastly, during 2017 Dr. Wesley continued to serve as a consultant on an NSF grant awarded to his external collaborators at Georgia State University and Emory University.
Dr. Wesley published three first-author manuscripts in 2017 including one in the prestigious journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). He is also first-author on fourth and fifth manuscripts that are currently in-progress. Dr. Wesley was also listed as co-author on a paper submitted to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and he gave two invited research lectures in 2017, including one at Emory University.
In 2017, Dr. Wesley founded a biotechnology start-up company called Largus Neural Systems, LLC (Largus) and serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This company was founded with Dr. Josh Lile and two graduate students at UK with competitive funds awarded from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The goal of Largus is to continue developing a biofeedback and brain stimulation device for treating opioid-dependent patients in order to reduce a growing local and national opioid burden. As part of the NIDA-sponsored process, Dr. Wesley and his team completed a NIDA training program for mentorship in writing competitive SBIR grant applications. Simultaneously, Dr. Wesley and his team participated in the UK Accel business accelerator program sponsored by the UK Office of Technology (OTC) and the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship (VACE). Dr. Wesley won the pitch competition at the end of the Accel program that was judged by local business professionals including several members of the Bluegrass Angels (BGA), a local investment group who supports new businesses in the region by providing entrepreneurs with seed capital and management guidance. Dr. Wesley was featured in UK Now twice in 2017, once for his innovative research (http://uknow.uky.edu/research/uk-neuroscientist-authors-study-using-brain-imaging-assess-mental-states-criminal-relevance) and once for his company endeavors. He was also featured in a promotional video for OTC that appeared in a UK Now article written by Dr. Lisa A. Cassis, a prominent researcher and the Vice President of Research at UK (http://uknow.uky.edu/research/office-technology-commercialization-equips-uk-researchers-and-aids-eku-inventors).
Dr. Wesley helped mentor 4 graduate students while contributing to collaborative projects in 2017. He served as Co-I on two NIH extramural grant submissions with Justin Strickland, a Ph.D. candidate in the Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology program. He served as Co-I on a paper submitted to AMIA by Anil Rajesh Kumar C, a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Informatics. Dr. Wesley also served as a Co-I for the NIDA biotechnology prize with Dillon Huffman and Arit Harvanko, Ph.D. candidates in Biomedical Engineering and Psychology, respectively. Dr. Wesley also presented the Largus business model to students in the Gatton College of Business and Economics and serves as an internal preceptor for nine students in an MBA course (MKT 624-002: Entrepreneurship and Business Start-ups).
In October of 2017, Dr. Wesley completed the Brain Stimulation Intensive Course offered by the Brain Stimulation Division of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). This is one of, if not the, largest nationally recognized courses for certification in clinical research and treatment using transcranial magnetic and electrical stimulation techniques. The integration of non-invasive brain stimulation, especially transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), into clinical research and treatment at UK represents an innovative step forward for the university in both understanding and treating mental disorders. Dr. Wesley is pioneering this effort and is currently integrating these techniques into his extramural grants and the ongoing projects of the NSL. in 2017, Dr. Wesley also renewed his web-based CITI training requirements through resources available from the UK Office of Research Integrity.
In addition to performing administrative duties associated with his two funded and on-going research projects and his company, Dr. Wesley spent time as an administrator developing and growing the NSL. This included time researching and ordering laboratory equipment. It also included maintaining formal collaborations with thirteen investigators spanning three colleges at UK. Dr. Wesley also maintaining formal collaborations with at least five units at UK including: The Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Center; The Laboratory of Human Behavioral Pharmacology; The Center for Clinical and Translational Science; Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology program; and the Institute of Biomedical Informatics. In 2017, Dr. Wesley served as a grant reviewer for both the UK CCTS and the UK Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR). He also continued to serve as an ad-hoc reviewer for seven scientific peer-review journals and maintained professional membership in five scientific organizations, including the American Psychological Association, of which he is the Division 28 Program Chair for the 2018 Annual Convention.
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, UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science,
Brain stimulation as a treatment for cannabis use disorder
Co-Investigator, R01 DA036550, National Institutes of Health, NIDA,
Human lab screening of pregabalin & tiagabine for cannabis dependence
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.