Messing, Robert

Robert Messing

Professor of Neurology, Professor
Department of Neurology, Dell Medical School, Department of Neuroscience



romessing@austin.utexas.edu

Phone: 512-471-1735

Office Location
BME 6.116A

Postal Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Neurology, Dell Medical School
1912 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712

My primary discipline is neuroscience and major interest is in molecular pharmacology, particularly as it relates to addiction. My laboratory uses gene targeting and RNA interference in rodents to study signaling proteins predicted to be important for responses to drugs of abuse. The goal is to understand the role of these proteins in behavior and determine if they are targets for development of new therapeutic agents to treat addiction. My major contributions include determining that protein kinase C epsilon, protein kinase C delta, N-type voltage-dependent calcium channels, and the type 1 equilibrative nucleoside transporter regulate ethanol intoxication and self-administration in mice. My research on protein kinase C epsilon in particular has led to ongoing efforts to develop inhibitors of this enzyme as potential treatments for pain, anxiety, and alcohol and nicotine addiction.

Researchers in the Messing Lab study molecular and circuit neuroadaptations to drugs of abuse that contribute to addiction and to co-morbid disorders such as anxiety and pain. The overall goal is to identify drug targets and strategies that could lead to new treatments.  We use a variety of molecular and genetic approaches including gene targeting, transgenic expression, and RNA interference, together with behavioral pharmacology and electrophysiology to identify molecules and circuits that drive addictive behavior.  Major contributions include determining that protein kinase C epsilon, protein kinase C delta, protein kinase M zeta, N-type voltage-dependent calcium channels, and the type 1 equilibrative nucleoside transporter regulate ethanol intoxication and self-administration in mice. Research on protein kinase C epsilon in particular has led to ongoing efforts to develop inhibitors of this enzyme as treatments for pain, anxiety, and alcohol and nicotine addiction.

Maiya R, McMahon T, Wang D, Kanter B, Gandhi D, Chapman HL, Miller J, Messing RO. Selective chemical genetic inhibition of protein kinase C epsilon reduces ethanol consumption in mice. Neuropharmacology. 107:40-8. 2016.  PMCID: PMC4912951.

Pomrenze MB, Millan EZ, Hopf FW, Keiflin R, Maiya R, Blasio A, Dadgar J, Kharazia V, De Guglielmo G, Crawford E, Janak PH, George O, Rice KC, Messing RO. A transgenic rat for investigating the anatomy and function of corticotrophin releasing factor circuits. Front Neurosci. 9:487, 2015. PMCID: PMC4689854.

Maiya R, Mangieri RA, Morrisett RA, Heberlein U, Messing RO. A selective role for Lmo4 in cue-reward learning.  J Neurosci. 35(26):9638-47, 2015.  PMCID: PMC4589569.

Trudell JR, Messing RO, Mayfield J, Harris RA. Alcohol dependence: molecular and behavioral evidence. Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 35(7):317-323, 2014. PMCID: PMC4089033.