Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh
Gregg E. Homanics, PhD
Professor, Anesthesiology
6060 Biomedical Science Tower 3
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Phone: 412-648-8172

Fax: 412-383-5267


BS (Animal and Veterinary Science), West Virginia University, 1984.
MS (Animal Science), University of Kentucky, 1987.
PhD (Animal Science), North Carolina State University, 1991.
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1991-93.

Research Areas
Photo of Gregg E. Homanics, PhD
Photo provided by Gregg Homanics.

Dr. Homanics’ laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular mechanism(s) of action of alcohol.  Despite being the most widely used and abused drug, it is largely unknown how alcohol exerts its effects on the brain to cause alcohol-induced behavioral changes.  If we could understand alcohol’s mechanism of action, we may ultimately be able to develop safe and effective treatments for preventing / combatting alcohol use disorders and alcoholism.

Two basic approaches are utilized by the Homanics laboratory for investigating alcohol action.  The first approach employs genetically engineered mice.  Mutant mice are created that harbor precise alterations in genes that encode putative alcohol targets.  The mutant mice are tested at the cellular, molecular, and whole animal levels for alterations in alcohol-induced responses.  The second approach utilizes molecular biology to investigate the epigenetic effects of alcohol on changes in gene expression.

Trainees in Dr. Homanics’ laboratory have the opportunity to use molecular biology and embryonic stem cell techniques to create genetically engineered mice.  Such mice are subsequently analyzed using molecular biology, pharmacology, histology, and numerous whole animal behavioral assays.  Studies of the epigenetic effects of alcohol action utilize chromatin immunoprecipitation, quantitative real time PCR, and western blotting techniques.

Important Publications

Finegersh A, Rompala GR, Martin DI and Homanics GE. Drinking beyond a lifetime: New and emerging insights into paternal alcohol exposure on subsequent generations. Alcohol, in press, 2015.

Aguayo LG, Castro P, Mariqueo T, Munoz B, Xiong W, Zhang L, Lovinger DM and Homanics GE.  Altered sedative effects of ethanol in mice with alpha1 glycine receptor subunits that are insensitive to Gβγ modulation. Neuropsychopharmacology 39:2538-2548, 2014.

Finegersh A and Homanics GE. Paternal alcohol exposure reduces alcohol drinking and increases behavioral sensitivity to alcohol selectively in male offspring. PLoS One 9:e99078, 2014.

Finegersh A and Homanics GE.  Acute ethanol alters multiple histone modifications at model gene promoters in the cerebral cortex. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 38:1865-1873, 2014.

Xiong W, Chen SR, He L, Cheng K, Zhao YL, Chen H, Li DP, Homanics GE, Peever J, Rice KC, Wu LG, Pan HL, Zhang L.  Presynaptic glycine receptors as a potential therapeutic target for hyperekplexia disease. Nat Neurosci 17:232-239, 2014.

Ferguson C, McKay M, Harris RA and Homanics GE.  Toll-like receptor 4 (Tlr4) knockout rats produced by transcriptional activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN)-mediated gene inactivation. Alcohol 47:595-599, 2013.  

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