Colleen A. McClung, PhD

Professor, Psychiatry


Bridgeside Point II, 450 Technology Dr, Suite 223
F: 412-624-5280
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PhD, University of Virginia (2001)


The molecular basis of psychiatric diseases.

Research Summary

Dr. McClung will be joining the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry and the Center for Neuroscience in the summer of 2011.

Our laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie psychiatric diseases with an emphasis on the role of circadian rhythms and the genes that make up the clock in reward, anxiety, and mood-related behavior. We utilize rodent models in our studies and have focused primarily on the contribution of the circadian genes to the regulation of limbic circuitry in the brain. We hope to understand how manipulations of this circuitry and associated circadian genes can lead to the development and treatment of psychiatric diseases. Our work combines molecular, cellular, physiological, and behavioral studies, and we continue to take advantage of new technologies as they become available. Our ultimate goal is to help develop more effective treatments for these devastating diseases.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program



Spencer, S.  Falcon, E., Kumar, J., Krishnan, V., Birnbaum, S.G., and McClung, C.A. (2012) Circadian genes Period1 and Period2 in the nucleus accumbens regulate anxiety-related behavior. European Journal of Neuroscience, 37: 242-250.
Arey, R., Enwright III, J.F., Spencer, S., Falcon, E., Ozburn, A.R., and McClung, C.A. (2013) An important role for Cholecystokinin, a CLOCK target gene, in the development and treatment of manic-like behaviors.  Molecular Psychiatry, 19: 342-350. 

Ozburn, A.R., Falcon, E., Mukherjee, S., Gillman, A., Spencer, S., Arey, R.N., and McClung, C.A. (2013) The Role of Clock in Ethanol Related Behaviors. Neuropsychopharmacology, 38: 2393-2400.    
Ozburn, A.R., Falcon, E., Twaddle, A., Nugent, A.L., Gillman, A.G., Spencer, S.M., Arey, R.N., Mukherjee, S., Lyons-Weiler, J., Self, D.W., and McClung, C.A. (2014) Direct regulation of diurnal Drd3 expression and cocaine reward by NPAS2.  Biological Psychiatry, in press.  *Selected as a priority communication.  
Coque, L., Mukherjee, S., Cao, J-L., Sidor, M., Spencer, S., Marvin, M., Falcon, E., Ozburn, A.R., Birnbaum, S.G., Graham, A., Neve, R.L., Gordon, E., Goldberg, M., Han, M-H., Cooper, D.C., and McClung, C.A. Specific role of VTA dopamine neuronal firing rates and morphology in the reversal of anxiety-related, but not depression-related behavior in the ClockΔ19 mouse model of mania. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2011, in press.
Mukherjee, S., Coque, L., Cao, J-L., Kumar, J., Graham, A., Chakravarty, S., Asaithamby, A., Graham, A., Gordon, E., Enwright III, J.F., DiLeone, R., Birnbaum, S., Cooper, D.C., and McClung, C.A. Knock-down of CLOCK in the VTA through RNAi results in a mixed state of mania and depression-like behavior. Biological Psychiatry 68: 503-511, 2010.
Dzirasa, K., Coque, L., Sidor, M., Kumar, S., Dancy, E.A., Takahashi, J.S., McClung, C.A., and Nicolelis M.A.L. Lithium reverses nucleus accumbens-phase timing dysfunction in Clock-Δ19 mice. Journal of Neuroscience 30: 16314-16323, 2010.
Roybal, K., Theobold, D., DiNieri, J.A., Graham, A., Russo, S.J., Krishnan, V., Chakravarty, S., Peevey, J., Oehrlein, N., Birnbaum, S., Vitaterna, M.H., Orsulak, P., Takahashi, J.S., Nestler, E.J., Carlezon, W.A. Jr., and McClung, C.A. Mania-like behavior induced by disruption of CLOCK. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104(15): 6406-6411, 2007.
McClung C.A., Sidiropoulou, K., Vitaterna, M., Takahashi, J.S., White, F.J., Cooper, D.C. and Nestler, E.J. Regulation of dopaminergic transmission and cocaine reward by the Clock gene. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102 (26): 9377-9381, 2005.