Our Research

The Wenthur Laboratory takes a highly interdisciplinary approach to the development of new tools and therapeutic approaches for understanding and treating psychiatric illnesses. The lab has a suite of pre-clinical and clinical research projects; these projects employ approaches ranging from chemical synthesis, to in vitro pharmacologic assays, to in vivo behavioral models, to psychometric screening in human subjects. Our projects include development of antibodies directed against synthetic opioids and cannabinoids; mechanistic dissection of rapidly-acting antidepressant activities of ketamine, psilocybin, and other psychedelics; and identification of opportunities and barriers to implementation of novel mental healthcare delivery approaches like addiction vaccines and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies. Ultimately, we believe that coordinated investigation across multiple levels of inquiry is necessary to support rapid translation of findings and make real progress in improving human mental health.

Grants

Active*/Recent Funding

  • NIMH – R01MH122742 *
  • WARF – URI 2021 *
  • Mike & Mary Shannon B-B:WB Fund *
  • NIGMS – T32GM008688 *
  • NINDS – T32NS105602 *
  • NIDA – F32DA043323
  • NIDA – L30DA036204
  • The ALSAM Foundation

Core Focus Areas

Application of Addiction Vaccines and Small Molecules as Countermeasures for Drug Misuse

These projects are built upon synthesis and/or vaccination with novel compounds that mimic core features of synthetic psychoactive molecule structures, as a means to enable improved screening for use, mitigate drug craving, and/or block the effects of drug overdose. Current projects in this domain focus on synthetic stimulants, cannabinoids, and opioids.

Identification of Harmful Immunologic Responses Following Chronic Opioid Use to Treat Lower Back Pain

Cross-Reactive Antibodies as Broadly-Neutralizing Theranostics for Synthetic Cannabinoid Intoxication

Targeting Ghrelin/Dopamine Receptor Heterodimers for Stimulant Use Disorder

Understanding How Rapidly Acting Antidepressant Compounds Work in the Brain

Efforts in this area are oriented toward deconstruction of the relative impact of complex pharmacologic and psychological responses in the reversal of damaging behaviors by rapidly-acting antidepressant compounds. These projects focus on understanding the actions of ketamine, psilocybin, and other psychedelics, including how these interventions interact with environmental factors.

Deconvoluting Polypharmacologic Contributions of Rapidly-Acting Antidepressants

Recall of Experience and Conscious Awareness in Psilocybin Treatment of Depression (RECAP)

Pro-Neuroplastic Mechanisms Underlying Therapeutic Actions of Psychoactive Agents

Addressing Barriers to Implementation of Next-Generation Psychiatric Treatment Approaches

This domain centers on engagement with key stakeholders early in the drug development process as a means to measure and incorporate the voices of patients and providers within implementation of conceptually-novel psychiatric treatment approaches and promote equitable and ethical distribution of mental healthcare services. Current projects focus on the use of human surveys and qualitative interviews focused on assessing the logistical and ethical considerations for implementation of ‘addiction vaccine’ and ‘psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy’ approaches.

Psychedelic Outcomes: Interaction of Environment, Self-Identity, and Success (POIESIS)

Pharmacist Experiences and Opinions Regarding Ethics and Logistics of Vaccination for Opioid Use Disorder

Expansion of Naloxone Dispensing Under Pharmacist Scope of Practice

Active grant

Deconvoluting Polypharmacologic Contributions of Rapidly-Acting Antidepressants

Active grant

Psychedelic Outcomes: Interaction of Environment, Self-Identity, and Success (POIESIS)

Active grant

Recall of Experience and Conscious Awareness in Psilocybin Treatment of Depression (RECAP)

Past grant

Identification of Harmful Immunologic Responses Following Chronic Opioid Use to Treat Lower Back Pain

Past project

Pharmacist Experiences and Opinions Regarding Ethics and Logistics of Vaccination for Opioid Use Disorder

Active project

Expansion of Naloxone Dispensing Under Pharmacist Scope of Practice

Active project

Cross-Reactive Antibodies as Broadly-Neutralizing Theranostics for Synthetic Cannabinoid Intoxication

RESEARCH PROJECT

Targeting Ghrelin/Dopamine Receptor Heterodimers for Stimulant Use Disorder

RESEARCH PROJECT

Pro-Neuroplastic Mechanisms Underlying Therapeutic Actions of Psychoactive Agents

Milestones in Research and Achievements

August 2005

Cody starts as an undergrad at Purdue

(13 years before the Wenthur Lab is founded)

May 2006

First funded research experience: Purdue SURF Fellowship (Davisson Lab)

August 2007

Admitted to PharmD program

(11 years before the Wenthur Lab is founded)

July 2010

Cody’s first paper: ‘SERT structure/function relationships’

Biochemical Pharmacology (Barker Lab)

 

April 2011

Merck Award: Cody is awarded his first research award

Summer 2011

Earned PharmD; Started PhD at Vanderbilt

(7 years before the Wenthur Lab is founded)

July 2012

First federal funding: NIGMS T32 Appointment (Lindsley Lab)

September 2013

NIDA L30 Awarded

January 2015

Cody’s tenth paper: ‘Glutamatergic mechanisms on learning and mPFC plasticity’

PNAS (Lindsley / Conn Labs)

 

Summer 2015

Earned PhD; Started Postdoc at The Scripps Research Institute

(3 years before the Wenthur Lab is founded)

March 2017

NIDA F32 Awarded

July 2017

Cody publishes first Nature paper (Janda Lab)

‘DISSECTIV approach to psychoactive polypharmacology’

September 2017

Jared F. Purton Memorial Award

August 2018

WENTHUR LAB FOUNDED

UW–Madison School of Pharmacy

September 2018

Zhen Zheng joins the lab (First Postdoc)

January 2019

Adam Worob joins the lab (First Graduate Student)

February 2019

Jillian Kyzer joins the lab (Second Postdoc)

March 2019

RECAP Pilot Funding Donated (Mike & Mary Shannon)

Role – Co-investigator (PI: Raison, UW–Madison)

April 2019

AR WiTAG Funding Awarded

Role – Collaborator (PI: O’ Reilly, UWRF)

July 2019

Cody publishes first manuscript as independent investigator

JPSW ‘Pharmacists and Opioid Epidemic’

December 2019

Nate Jones joins the lab (Second Graduate Student)

MCP Program; T32 funding

 

December 2019

Adam Worob publishes first Wenthur Lab literature review

ACS Chemical Neuroscience ‘Dark Classics – Synthetic Cannabinoids’

January 2020

Jan 2020 – Zarmeen Zahid joins the lab (Third Graduate Student)

Joint mentoring with Banks Lab; NTP Program; T32 funding

 

April 2020

NIMH R01 Grant Awarded (Rapidly-Acting Antidepressant Mechanisms)

Role – Primary Investigator (First Wenthur Lab R01)

August 2020

Jillian Kyzer publishes first Wenthur Lab research paper (Cody’s 25th)

ACS Pharmacol. & Transl. Sci. ‘Opioid Antibody Biomarker Detection’

January 2021

John Razidlo joins the lab (Fourth Graduate Student)

NTP program; T32 funding

February 2021

First Faculty Alumnus: Zhen Zheng takes faculty position at Tianjin University

February 2021

First-to-market psychedelic MS program: MS in Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation Program Approved. Cody named as Founding Director.

March 2021

WARF URI Grant Funded (Psychedelic Environment and Identity)

Role – Primary Investigator

March 2021

Vincent Wartenweiler Publishes Opioid Vaccine Ethics paper in BMC Medical Ethics

June 2021

Publication of “Catalysts for Change: the cellular neurobiology of psychedelics” in Molecular and Cellular Biology

August 2021

Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain joins the lab

(Third Postdoc)

Nov 2021

Publication of manuscript describing selective 6-hydroxynorketamine antibody development in ACS Chemical Neuroscience

Jan 2022

U. Matthew Enriquez joins the lab

(Fifth Graduate Student)

 

Feb 2022

Publication in the Journal of Neuroscience describing GHSR1a:1b:D1 heteromer complex formation in the VTA with collaborators at NIDA, Marquette, and Univ. Barcelona

Apr 2022

Publication in Military Medicine evaluating opioid prescribing patterns following surgery at the VA with VA collaborators