Stephen J. Heishman, Ph.D., Senior Investigator - Principal Investigators - The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

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Stephen J. Heishman, Ph.D., Senior Investigator


Nicotine Psychopharmacology Section
NIDA Intramural Research Program
251 Bayview Blvd., Room 2A641
Baltimore, MD 21224

Voice: (443) 740-2458

Fax: (443) 740-2855


Stephen J. Heishman, Ph.D., Senior Investigator

Chief, Nicotine Psychopharmacology Section on-site page link
Associate Director for Education and Training on-site page link

Post-doctoral Training - Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Ph.D. - Experimental Psychology, University of Louisville

B.A. - Psychology, Vanderbilt University


My research program involves basic human laboratory studies investigating several aspects of nicotine dependence. This research uses behavioral pharmacological methods including operant responding, self-report measures, physiological recordings, and cognitive assessments. One consequence of nicotine withdrawal is impaired cognitive abilities, which can lead a person trying to quit to relapse to smoking. For several years, we have been investigating the effects of tobacco withdrawal and nicotine administration on cognitive processes in smokers and nonsmokers to understand which cognitive and attentional processes are most readily disrupted during withdrawal and which are enhanced by nicotine under conditions of normal smoking. We are also interested in the phenomenon of tobacco craving and the role it plays in the maintenance of nicotine dependence. We have developed and validated a multidimensional tobacco craving questionnaire, examined the time course of elicited craving, studied the effect of elicited craving on working memory, and are currently investigating the brain correlates of elicited craving using functional magnetic resonance imagery. Most recently, we have established a laboratory model of nicotine dependence that comprises measures of conditioned smoking cues and nicotine reinforcement. We will use this model to investigate the effects of putative pharmacotherapies for nicotine dependence and how various genetic polymorphisms influence responses to smoking cues and nicotine reinforcement.

Selected Publications:

  1. Panlilio LV, Justinova Z, Mascia P, Pistis M, Luchicchi A, Lecca S, Barnes C, Redhi GH, Adair J, Heishman SJ, Yasar S, Aliczki M, Haller J, Goldberg SR (2012) Novel use of a lipid-lowering fibrate medication to prevent nicotine reward and relapse: preclinical findings. Neuropsychopharmacology.

  2. Myers CS, Taylor RC, Salmeron BJ, Waters AJ, Heishman SJ (2012) Nicotine enhances alerting, but not executive, attention in smokers and nonsmokers. Nicotine Tob Res.

  3. Kleykamp BA, Heishman SJ (2011) The older smoker. JAMA 306:876-877.

  4. Marrone GF, Shakleya DM, Scheidweiler KB, Singleton EG, Huestis MA, Heishman SJ (2011) Relative performance of common biochemical indicators in detecting cigarette smoking. Addiction 106:1325-1334.

  5. Heishman SJ, Kleykamp BA, Singleton EG (2010) Meta-analysis of the acute effects of nicotine and smoking on human performance. Psychopharmacology 210:453-469.

  6. Leventhal AM, Waters AJ, Moolchan ET, Heishman SJ, Pickworth WB (2010) A quantitative analysis of subjective, cognitive, and physiological manifestations of the acute tobacco abstinence syndrome. Addict Behav 35:1120-1130.

  7. Marrone GF, Paulpillai M, Evans RJ, Singleton EG, Heishman SJ (2010) Breath carbon monoxide and semiquantitative saliva cotinine as biomarkers for smoking. Hum Psychopharmacol Clin Exp 25:80-83.

  8. Heishman SJ, Lee DC, Taylor RC, Singleton EG (2010) Prolonged duration of craving, mood, and autonomic responses elicited by cues and imagery in smokers: effects of tobacco deprivation and sex. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 18:245-256.

  9. Hahn B, Wolkenberg FA, Ross TJ, Myers CS, Heishman SJ, Stein DJ, Kurup P, Stein EA (2008) Divided versus selective attention: evidence for common processing mechanisms. Brain Res 1215:137-146.

  10. Myers CS, Taylor RC, Moolchan ET, Heishman SJ (2008) Dose-related enhancement of mood and cognition in smokers administered nicotine nasal spray. Neuropsychopharmacology 33:588-598.

About Dr. Heishman's...

IRP Training Opportunities...

2009 Postbacs
Postdoc, Predoc, Postbac and Summer Student training opportunities available!

2009 Summer Students
Research & Training Program for Under-represented Populations

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