Meaghan Creed, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Neurosciences Program

  • 314 273 7922



  • @Meaghan_Creed

  • in vivo electrophysiology, RNA-sequencing, patch clamp electrophysiology, deep brain stimulation, reward, dopamine, basal ganglia, chronic pain, addiction, genetics, pharmacology

  • Leveraging principals of synaptic physiology to develop novel treatment strategies for chronic pain and addiction.

Research Abstract:

**Accepting rotation students for the 2022-2023 cycle**

Impaired reward processing is a hallmark feature of chronic pain- , mood- and substance use disorders. These disorders are driven in part by altered function of ventral basal ganglia circuits, a collection of brain structures involved in learning and selection of flexible behavior. In my research program, we ask:

How does chronic pain or drug self-administration drive synaptic adaptations within basal ganglia circuits?

Which experience-dependent circuit adaptations are causally related to altered reward processing?

How can we reverse plasticity to normalize circuit function and treat maladaptive behavior?

To answer these questions, we first apply complementary approaches of optogenetic manipulations, patch clamp and in vivo electrophysiology to determine how the experience of chronic pain or drug self-administration induces plasticity within the basal ganglia circuits, and how this plasticity at discrete synapses contributes to maladaptive reward seeking behaviors.  In a second step, we attempt to leverage this insight to develop novel neuromodulation strategies to reverse this disease-induced plasticity to normalize circuit function and reduce maladaptive behavior. To this end, we apply transcriptomic analysis of genetically-defined basal ganglia neurons, simple finite element models and optogenetic manipulations to understand how these defined neuronal populations may respond to deep brain stimulation and targeted pharmacology.

We are
studying how chronic pain or self-administration of addictive drugs induces plasticity within the ventral basal ganglia network, and how these adaptations alter hedonic processing, reward motivation and punishment-sensitivity. Our ultimate goal is to better understand the pathology of these disorders, and to develop blueprints for novel neuromodulation therapies for these disorders.

Mentorship and Commitment to Diversity Statement:
I believe that there is no one-size-fits all approach to mentoring. While people do their best work at the edge of their comfort zone, what this looks like will be different for everyone and will evolve over time. I strive to be in lab as much as possible, to talk about science or answer technical questions as they arise. I also dedicate time weekly for a 1:1 meeting with each lab member where we can talk about data analysis, longer-range experimental plans or topics trainees would like to discuss. I encourage every lab member to work on an individual development plan, which encompasses scientific, professional and training goals. We'll meet formally to discuss this IDP 2-3 times per year; my role is to sponsor trainees for opportunities and help them outline their own specific milestones that will help them achieve their professional and scientific goals, regardless of what those next steps or future career plans may be.

I have benefited immensely from supportive, unbiased mentors throughout my career. I also understand the importance of a mentor as a role model in creating an inclusive culture. In my own lab, I strive to promote such an inclusive culture, welcoming scholars from all socioeconomic, gender and ethnic groups and promoting scientific work from scholars from these groups. I am acutely aware of how racial and gender biases influence everyday interactions and long-term career trajectories of scholars from underrepresented groups, and I do my best to further educate myself and increase my sensitivity to these issues. In the lab, we do not tolerate discrimination in any form, and believe that a variety of perspectives enhances innovation and creativity.

Selected Publications:

Vachez YM*, Tooley JR*, Abiraman K, Matikainen-Ankeny B, Casey E, Earnest T, Ramos LM, Silberberg H, Godynyuk E, Uddin O, Marconi L, LePichon C, Creed M. Ventral arkypallidal neurons inhibit accumbal firing to promote reward consumption. Nature Neuroscience.  2021. 3(25):379-387.

Markovic T, Pedersen CE, Massaly N, Vachez YM, Ruyle B, Murphy CA, Abiraman K, Shin JH, Garcia JJ, Yoon HJ, Alvarez VA, Bruchas MR, Creed MC*, Morón JA*. Pain induces adaptations in ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons to drive anhedonia-like behavior. Nat Neurosci. 2021. 24(11):1601-1613.

Bariselli S, Miyazaki NL, Creed MC, Kravitz AV. Orbitofrontal-striatal potentiation underlies cocaine-induced hyperactivity. Nat Commun. 2020 Aug 10;11(1):3996

Godynyuk E, Bluitt MN, Tooley JR, Kravitz AV, Creed MC.An open-source, automated, home-cage sipper device for monitoring liquid ingestive behavior in rodents. eNeuro. 2019. 10;6(5).

LeGates TA, Kvarta MD, Tooley J, Francis CT, Lobo MK, Creed M, Thompson SM. (2019) Reward behavior is regulated by the strength of hippocampus-nucleus accumbens excitatory synapses. Nature. In Press.

Wulff AB, Tooley J, Marconi LJ, Creed MC. (2018) Ventral pallidal modulation of aversion processing. Brain Res. pii: S0006-8993(18)30514-6.

Creed M. (2018) Current and emerging neuromodulation therapies for addiction: insight from pre-clinical studies. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 49:168-174.

Tooley J, Marconi L, Alipio JB, Matikainen-Ankney B, Georgiou P, Kravitz AV, Creed M. (2018) Biological Psychiatry. 83(12):1012-1023.

Chandra R, Engeln M, Patton M, Martin J, Werner C, Riggs L, Francis T, Das S, Girven K, Konkalmatt P, Gancarz A, Golden SA, Iniguez S, Russo SJ, Turecki G, Mathur B, Creed M, Dietz DM, Lobo MK. (2017) Mitochondrial fission in nucleus accumbens D1 neuron subtypes mediates cellular and behavioral plasticity to cocaine. Neuron. 96(6):1327-1341.

Creed M. (2017) Towards a targeted treatment for addiction. Science. 357(6350): 464-465.
Lee, D*, Creed M*, Jung K*, Stefanelli T, Wendler D, Oh WC, Mignocchi NL, Lüscher C, Kwon HB. (2017) Temporally precise labeling and control of neuromodulatory circuits in the mammalian brain. Nature Methods. 14(5):495-503.

Creed M, Ntamati R, Chandra R, Lobo MK, Lüshcer C. (2016)
Convergence of rewarding and anhedonic effects of cocaine in the ventral pallidum. Neuron. 92(1): 214-226.

Creed M*, Kaufling J*, Fois G, Jalabert M, Yuan T, Lüscher C, Georges F, and Bellone C. (2016) Cocaine exposure enhances the activity of VTA dopamine neurons via calcium impermeable NMDARs. Journal of Neuroscience. 36(42):10759-10768.

Creed M, Pascoli VP, Lüscher C. (2015) Refining deep brain stimulation to emulate optogenetic treatment of synaptic pathology. Science. 347(6222):659-64.

More publications with full-text links at

Last Updated: 5/20/2022 2:51:12 PM

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