Please note: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will now be called "UT Health San Antonio."

Search Program Faculty/Research

Brett Ginsburg, Ph.D.



Dr. Brett Ginsburg's research focuses on the behavioral neurobiology of alcohol and cannabinoids. This research has established among the very first animal models of recovery. His results indicate that reinforcing alternative behavior reduces attention to alcohol and alcohol-related cues in the environment, which in turn decreases the likelihood of relapse. This is consistent with human research on attentional bias which shows that the risk of relapse is directly related to the amount of attention an individual pays to alcohol or alcohol-related cues. 

In the coming years, Dr. Ginsburg expects to explore this notion by examining the extent to which attentional bias predicts or modifies alcohol use and relapse. A recently funded (R21) project will aid this endeavor by establishing a novel and innovative preclinical (animal) model of attentional bias. This model contains many of the same aspects as the human attentional bias assay, providing a unique level of translational research. Further, once established, this model will allow pharmacological and neurobiological investigations into the mechanisms involved in attention to drug or alcohol-related cues. 

He has also published several widely cited studies on the ability of the anti-smoking medication varenicline (Chantix) to reduce alcohol use. His research indicates that the ability of varenicline to reduce drinking while sparing other behavior depends on the baseline pattern of use. The implication of this finding is that varenicline might be more effective in those with high levels of drinking relative to other activities (the most severely afflicted), but might increase drinking among those with more moderate levels of use and greater balance with other daily activities. This research bolsters the growing tendency to consider more personalized treatment strategies, based on the individual''s characteristics.

Selected Publications 

Ginsburg BC and Lamb RJ. Alphaxalone and epiallopregnanolone effects in ethanol discriminating rats. In press: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2005

Ginsburg BC, Koek W, Javors MA, and Lamb RJ. Effects of fluvoxamine on a multiple schedule of ethanol- and food- maintained behavior in two rat strains. Psychopharmacology. 2005,180:249-257

Ginsburg BC, Kimmel HL, Carroll FI, Goodman MM, and Howell LL. Interaction of cocaine and dopamine transporter inhibitors on behavior and neurochemistry in monkeys. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2005, Mar;80(3):481-91

Lamb RJ and Ginsburg BCFluvoxamine and desipramine on fixed-ratio responding: Effects of reinforcement magnitude. In press: Behavioural Pharmacology, 2005

Javors MA, Ginsburg BC, Friesenhahn G, and Lamb RJ. Rat Breathalyzer. In press: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2005

Kimmel HL, Ginsburg BC, and Howell LL. In vivo microdialysis in squirrel monkeys actively self-administering cocaine. Synapse. 2005 Jun 1;56(3):129-34

Czoty PW, Ginsburg BC, and Howell LL. Serotonergic attenuation of the reinforcing and neurochemical effects of cocaine in squirrel monkeys. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 2002, Mar;300(3):831-7.

Wilcox RE, Tseng T, Brusniak MY, Ginsburg BC, Pearlman RS, Teeter M, DuRand C, Starr S, Neve KA. CoMFA-based prediction of agonist affinities at recombinant D1 vs D2 dopamine receptors. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 1998, Oct 22;41(22):4385-99.

Associate Professor, Psychiatry


Ph.D., Molecular and Systems Pharmacology, Emory University, 2002

B.S., Chemistry, Southwestern University, 1995



Phone: (210) 567-0871

Graduate Students

Tamar Winer