Andrew Holmes, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience


5625 Fishers Lane
Room 2N09
Rockville, MD 20852


Research Topics

The mission of the Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the causes of alcoholism and comorbid neuropsychiatric conditions such as mood and anxiety disorders. Our goal is to help identify new directions for the prevention and effective treatment of these devastating diseases. To this end, we are using models of chronic alcohol exposure and chronic stress to examine how these environmental insults reshape brain circuits to modify behavior, and why they do so in a manner that varies greatly from individual to individual as a function of genetics, sex and age. A major current focus of our work is how alcohol and stress affect the structure and function of circuits interconnecting the prefrontal cortex with limbic and dorsal striatal regions that are critical for the regulation of emotion, cognition and executive control over drug-seeking.


Andrew Holmes was trained in the UK, where received his Bachelor’s (Hons) degree in Psychology and his Doctorate in Behavioral Pharmacology. He received postdoctoral training in behavioral neuroscience and behavioral genetics from Dr. Jacki Crawley at the NIMH. He was recruited to the NIAAA in 2004 and is currently Chief of the Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience, where he studies brain regulation of emotion and cognition using animal models.

Selected Publications

  1. Holmes A, Spanagel R, Krystal JH. Glutamatergic targets for new alcohol medications. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013;229(3):539-54.

  2. DePoy L, Daut R, Brigman JL, MacPherson K, Crowley N, Gunduz-Cinar O, Pickens CL, Cinar R, Saksida LM, Kunos G, Lovinger DM, Bussey TJ, Camp MC, Holmes A. Chronic alcohol produces neuroadaptations to prime dorsal striatal learning. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(36):14783-8.

  3. Brigman JL, Daut RA, Wright T, Gunduz-Cinar O, Graybeal C, Davis MI, Jiang Z, Saksida LM, Jinde S, Pease M, Bussey TJ, Lovinger DM, Nakazawa K, Holmes A. GluN2B in corticostriatal circuits governs choice learning and choice shifting. Nat Neurosci. 2013;16(8):1101-10.

  4. Griebel G, Holmes A. 50 years of hurdles and hope in anxiolytic drug discovery. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2013;12(9):667-87.

  5. Holmes A, Fitzgerald PJ, MacPherson KP, DeBrouse L, Colacicco G, Flynn SM, Masneuf S, Pleil KE, Li C, Marcinkiewcz CA, Kash TL, Gunduz-Cinar O, Camp M. Chronic alcohol remodels prefrontal neurons and disrupts NMDAR-mediated fear extinction encoding. Nat Neurosci. 2012;15(10):1359-61.

This page was last updated on February 12th, 2014