Shanaz Tejani-Butt PhD

Shanaz Tejani-Butt PhD

Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Neuroscience


BS (University of Bombay)

MS (University of Bombay)

PhD (Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University)

Research Interests


Neuropsychopharmacology, alcohol and substance abuse, stress and psychiatric disorders Molecular Mechanisms associated with the regulation of biogenic amines in an animal model of depressive behavior; implication of these biogenic amines in modulating a stress response, reward and addictive behaviors, as well as in the therapeutic action of drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders.


Unlocking the Mysteries of Depressive Illness

Exposure to stressful life events has been long associated with increased alcohol use in humans, and psychological stress is a common risk factor for both depression and alcohol abuse. Alterations in reward and motivational processes at the psychological, behavioral and the neurochemical levels may represent the defining characteristics of both depression and drug and alcohol dependency.

The Wistar-Kyoto rat strain shows greater "depressive" behavior, consumes greater amounts of alcohol and produces more stress related ulcers than other rat strains. Our laboratory has reported on several behavioral and neurochemical differences in this rat strain that may be linked to altered dopamine and/or norepinephrine transmission. Her research has expanded into understanding the role of other neurotransmitters such as glutamate and Gaba in depression, alcohol abuse, and stress related disorders. More recently, our laboratory has been investigating whether the Wistar-Kyoto rat is a good model in which to study sleep disturbances that are associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the noradrenergic mechanisms that are implicated with this disorder.


Dr. Tejani-Butt has conducted numerous research projects that have focused on the general area of Neuropsychopharmacology and include, among others: Role of Central Monoaminergic Systems in Psychiatric Disorders, Thyroid Axis Hormones, Animal Models of Depressive Behavior, Role of Immune Function in Psychiatric Disorders, Neurodegenerative Diseases and Substance Abuse. Using an appropriate animal model, she has been studying the role of stress on the induction of several psychiatric disorders such as depressive illness, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. Her interrelated projects provide translational application to human psychiatric disorders. (1) Through a funded grant from NIMH, her laboratory investigated the link between depressive behavior and diminished brain supplies of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. (2) Funding from NIAAA allowed her laboratory to investigate the effects of stress and alcohol on behavioral and central parameters in order to determine the mechanism by which depressive behavior modulates alcohol dependency. (3) Her more recent work has been directed towards understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the basis of her most recent grant from NIMH.

Dr. Tejani-Butt teaches courses in central nervous system physiology and pharmacology, special topics in Neuropsychopharmacology, endocrine physiology and pharmacology and drug-receptor interactions. She is a member of many national and local organizations, including the Society for Neuroscience, World Women in Neuroscience, and served on NIH expert panel of Grant study section for several years. She has been the recipient of extramural funding from NIH, foundations and pharmaceutical companies for the past 25 years.

Selected Scholarly Activity

Vinod KY, Xie S, Psychoyos D, Hungund BL, Cooper TB & Tejani-Butt SM: Dysfunction in the Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase is Associated with Depressive-like Behavior in Wistar Kyoto Rats. PLoS ONE, 2012, in press.

DaSilva J, Husain E., Lei Y, Mann G.L., Ross R, Tejani-Butt SM & Morrison AR: Social partnering significantly reduced REM sleep fragmentation in fear-conditioned, stress-sensitive Wistar-Kyoto rats. Neuroscience, 199, 193-204, 2011.

Novick AM, Forster GL, Tejani-Butt SM & Watt MJ: Adolescent social defeat alters markers of adult dopaminergic function. Brain Research Bulletin, 86, 123-8, 2011.

Laitman BM, DaSilva J, Ross R, Tejani-Butt SM & Morrison AR: Reduced Gamma Range Activity at REM Sleep Onset and Termination in Fear-Conditioned Wistar-Kyoto Rats. Neuroscience Letts., 493, 14-17, 2011.

Scholl JL, Renner KJ, Forster GL & Tejani-Butt SM: Central Monoamine levels differ between rat strains used in studies of depressive behavior. Brain Research, 1355, 41-51, 2010.

DaSilva J, Lei Y, Madan V, Mann G.L., Ross R, Tejani-Butt SM & Morrison AR: Fear conditioning fragments REM sleep in stress-sensitive Wistar-Kyoto, but not Wistar rats.Prog. Neuro-Psychopharmacol. & Biol. Psychiatry, 35, 67-73, 2010.

Yaroslavsky I & Tejani-Butt SM: Voluntary alcohol consumption differentially alters dopamine-2 receptor sites in Wistar-Kyoto and Wistar rats, Neurochem. Research, 35, 1708-1715, 2010.

Yanlin Lei & Tejani-Butt SM: NMDA Receptors are altered by stress and alcohol in Wistar-Kyoto rat brain. Neuroscience, 169, 125-131, 2010.

Yaroslavsky I & Tejani-Butt SM: Effects of stress-alcohol interactions on dopamine-2 receptor sites in Wistar-Kyoto rats. Pharmacol, Biochem & Behavior, 94, 471-476, 2009.

Lei Y, Yaroslavsky I & Tejani-Butt SM: Strain differences in the distribution of N-Methyl-D-Aspartate and Gamma aminobutyric acid-A receptors in rat brain. Life Sciences, 85, 794-799, 2009.

Contact Information

Mailing address: Box 80
Office Phone: 215.596.8594

s [dot] tejani [at] usciences [dot] edu