David Dietz PhD

David Dietz

David Dietz

Professor; Chair

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Specialty/Research Focus

Addictions; Behavioral pharmacology; Cytoskeleton and cell motility; Drug abuse; Gene Expression; Gene Therapy; Neurobiology; Neuropharmacology; Signal Transduction; Transcription and Translation

Contact Information
955 Main Street
Room 3102G
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 716-829-2071

Professional Summary:

Drug addiction is a disabling psychiatric disease leading to enormous burdens for those afflicted, their friends and family, as well as society as a whole. Indeed, the addict will seek out and use illicit substances even in the face of severe negative financial, family and health consequences. It is believed that drugs of abuse ultimately “hijack” the reward circuitry of the CNS leading to cellular adaptations that facilitate the transition to the “addicted” state As is the case with both rodent models of drug taking, and well as throughout the global human population, not all individuals exposed to drugs of abuse will meet the classical definition of being truly “addicted”. We are looking at how molecular and behavioral plasticity mediates susceptibility to drug abuse and relapse like behaviors.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Neuroscience, Florida State University (2008)
  • BA, Psychology, Rutgers University, Summa Cum Laude (2000)


  • Associate Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2016-present)
  • Assistant Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, State University of New York at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2011–2016)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Neuroscience, Mount Sinai Medical School (2008–2011)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern (2008)

Research Expertise:

  • Molecular and Behavioral Basis of Psychiatric Disorders: We are interested how neuronal and structural plasticity underlies why some individuals are more susceptible to compulsive behaviors including drug addiction.

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • June 2014–May 2019
    Cocaine-induced neuroplasticity:a new role for TGF beta signaling
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • February 2006–February 2008
    Individual Differences in Behavioral Sensitization
    Role: Principal Investigator

Journal Articles:

See all (51 more)

Professional Memberships:

  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) (2016–present)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (2004–present)
  • Society for Neuroscience (1999–present)


  • "From Father to Offspring" Stress 2012; Stress; epigenetics of stress (2012)
  • "The Role of Rac1 in cocaine addiction" Seminar Series; Cold Spring Harbor Labratories; neuroscience (2012)
  • "The role of the small GTPase Rac1 in cocaine-induced plasticity" 5th Annual Neuroscience Research Day; Buffalo Society for Neuroscience Chapter (2011)
  • "The role of Rac1 in cociane-induced spines" Molecular Neuroscience Siganiling; New York University -Skirball Institute of Medicine; Molecular Neurobiology Program (2011)
  • "The Molecular Basis for Individual Differences in Behavioral Sensitization" Brian Robinson Memorial Research; ; Department of Neurology (2008)
  • "Individual Difference to Stress Induced Sensitization" Keystone Symposium (2007)

Service Activities:

  • Faculty Council; Member (2012–2014)
  • Judge for Post-doctroral Research Day; Judge (2012)
  • Works In Progress; Program Coordinator (2011–present)
  • Undergraduate Research and Summer Programs Subcommittee The overall goal of this comittee is the enhancement of course curriculum and the undergraduate and graduate programs at all levels. So far the Committee has increased communication and interaction between faculty members and has helped focus the goals to bring the department to the next level of academic and research excellence.; Member (2011–2013)

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Contact Information

955 Main Street
Room 3102G
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 716-829-2071