Colleen A. McClung, PhD

  • Professor, Psychiatry




Personal Website

website link

Education & Training

PhD, University of Virginia (2001)

Campus Address

Bridgeside Point II, 450 Technology Dr, Suite 223

One-Line Research Description

The molecular basis of psychiatric diseases.

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.

Representative Publications

Schoenrock, S.A., Kumar, P., Gómez-A, A. ... McClung CA et al. Characterization of genetically complex Collaborative Cross mouse strains that model divergent locomotor activating and reinforcing properties of cocaine. Psychopharmacology (2020).


Seney ML, Cahill K, Enwright JF, Logan RW, Huo Z, Zong W, Tseng G, McClung CA. Diurnal rhythms in gene expression in the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia. Nature Communications. 10: 3355 (2019). PMID 31399567 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11335-1 


Logan, R.W. and McClung, C.A. (2019) Rhythms of life: Circadian disruption and brain disorders across the lifespan. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Jan 20: 49-65


Parekh, P., Logan, R.W., Ketchesin, K.D., Becker-Krail, D.B., Shelton, M., Huang, Y., and McClung, C.A. (2019) Cell-type specific regulation of nucleus accumbens synaptic plasticity and cocaine reward sensitivity by the circadian protein, NPAS2. Journal of Neuroscience, 39: 4657-4667.


Logan, R.W., Parekh, P.K., Williams III, W., Kaplan, G., Becker-Krail, D., Yamaguchi, S., Yoshino, J., Shelton, M.A., Zhu, X., Zhang, H., Waplinger, S., Fitzgerald, E., Oliver-Smith, J., Sundarvelu, P., Enwright III, J.F., and McClung, C.A. (2018) Diurnal rhythms in tyrosine hydroxylase expression are regulated by NAD+ cellular redox and SIRT1. Molecular Psychiatry, May 4 Epub.


Parekh, P.K., Becker-Krail, D., Sundaravelu, P., Ishigaki, S., Okado, H., Sobue, G., Huang, Y., and McClung, C.A. (2017) Altered GluA1 function and accumbal synaptic plasticity in the ClockD19 model of bipolar mania. Biological Psychiatry, 84: 817-826.


Chen, C.Y., Logan, R.W., Tianzhou, M., Lewis, D.A., Tseng, G.C., Sibille, E., and McClung, C.A. (2016) The effects of aging on circadian patterns of gene expression in the human prefrontal cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA, 113:206-11.


Sidor, M.M., Spencer, S., Dzirasa, K., Parekh, P.K., Tye, K.M., Warden, M.R., Arey, R.N., Enwright III, J.F., Jacobsen, J.P.R., Kumar, S., Remillard, E.M., Caron, M.G., Deisseroth, K., and McClung, C.A. (2015) Daytime spikes in dopaminergic activity underlie rapid mood-cycling. Molecular Psychiatry, 20:1479-80.


Logan, R.W., Edgar, N., Gillman, A.G., Hoffman, D., Zhu, X., and McClung, C.A. (2015) Chronic stress induces brain region specific alterations of molecular rhythms in mice that correlate with depression-like behavior. Biological Psychiatry, 78: 249-58.


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.


Seney, M.L., Cahill, K., Enwright, J.F.III, Logan, R.W. Huo, Z., Zong, W., Tseng, G., and McClung, C.A. Diurnal Rhythms in Gene Expression in the Prefrontal Cortex in Schizophrenia. Nature Communications, in press.