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Dr Bryan Singer


Profile summary

Professional biography

I received my Ph.D. in Neurobiology with Dr. Paul Vezina at the University of Chicago (2012). Afterwards, I completed my postdoctoral research with Dr. Terry Robinson and Dr. Brandon Aragona in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan (2013-2017). While at Michigan, I taught several courses, including “Introduction to Neurobiology,” “High-Impact Principles and Practices for STEM Education,” “Drugs of Abuse, Brain, and Behavior,” and “Musicophilia: Tales of Music & the Brain.” I started as a lecturer at The Open University in September 2017.

Research interests

The goal of my research is to understand how both striatal dopamine release and molecular signaling in dendritic spines underlie individual variation in motivated behaviour. Investigating this variability may help explain why some people misuse drugs, while others do not.

Externally funded projects

Neuronal encoding of flexible reward-seeking and rigid reward-taking
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead05 Oct 201804 Sep 2019The Royal Society

Self-administration models of addiction typically require animals to make the same response over and over to procure and take drugs. By their design, such procedures often produce behaviour controlled by habits. This has supported the notion of addiction as a “drug habit”, and has led to considerable advances in understanding the neurobiological basis of such behaviour. While drug-taking involves habitual behaviours, the initial procurement of drugs may require considerable flexibility in seeking behaviour which, by definition, is not habitual. The proposed studies model this pattern of flexible reward-seeking and rigid reward-taking, requiring mice to solve a new puzzle every day to gain access to reward. Across weeks of observation, we will use photometry to watch real-time neuronal activity in the brain while rats seek and take reward. These biopsychological experiments provide the foundation for work in our new laboratory, which we hope will impact how people view and treat addictions.

Postgraduate Research and Professional Development - Morgane Colom
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Oct 201830 Sep 2021King's College London (KCLU)

£10k for consumables from King's College London, collaboration with Dr Ellie Dommett. For Morgane Colom's studentship.


Making educational videos more engaging and enjoyable for all ages: an exploratory study on the influence of embedded questions (2023)
Zolkwer, Morgan B.; Hidalgo, Rafael and Singer, Bryan F.
International Journal of Lifelong Education ((Early access))

Diverse Characteristics of Addiction Necessitate Multiple Preclinical Models (2019-12-01)
Singer, Bryan F.
Biological Psychiatry, 86(11) (e43-e45)

Are cocaine-seeking “habits” necessary for the development of addiction-like behavior in rats? (2018-01-03)
Singer, Bryan F.; Fadanelli, Monica; Kawa, Alex B. and Robinson, Terry E.
The Journal of Neuroscience, 38(1) (pp. 60-73)

Rapid induction of dopamine sensitization in the nucleus accumbens shell induced by a single injection of cocaine (2017-05-01)
Singer, Bryan F.; Bryan, Myranda A.; Popov, Pavlo; Robinson, Terry E. and Aragona, Brandon J.
Behavioural Brain Research, 324 (pp. 66-70)

Stimuli associated with the presence or absence of amphetamine regulate cytoskeletal signaling and behavior (2016-11)
Singer, Bryan F.; Bubula, Nancy; Przybycien-Szymanska, Magdalena M.; Li, Dongdong and Vezina, Paul
European Neuropsychopharmacology, 26(11) (pp. 1836-1842)

Individual variation in incentive salience attribution and accumbens dopamine transporter expression and function (2016-03)
Singer, Bryan F.; Guptaroy, Bipasha; Austin, Curtis J.; Wohl, Isabella; Lovic, Vedran; Seiler, Jillian L.; Vaughan, Roxanne A.; Gnegy, Margaret E.; Robinson, Terry E. and Aragona, Brandon J.
European Journal of Neuroscience, 43(5) (pp. 662-670)

Rats that sign-track are resistant to Pavlovian but not instrumental extinction (2016-01-01)
Ahrens, Allison M.; Singer, Bryan F.; Fitzpatrick, Christopher J.; Morrow, Jonathan D. and Robinson, Terry E.
Behavioural Brain Research, 296 (pp. 418-430)

Drug-Paired Contextual Stimuli Increase Dendritic Spine Dynamics in Select Nucleus Accumbens Neurons (2016)
Singer, Bryan F.; Bubula, Nancy; Li, Dongdong; Przybycien-Szymanska, Magdalena M.; Bindokas, Vytautas P. and Vezina, Paul
Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(8) (pp. 2178-2187)

The sensory features of a food cue influence its ability to act as an incentive stimulus and evoke dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens core (2016)
Singer, Bryan F.; Bryan, Myranda A.; Popov, Pavlo; Scarff, Raymond; Carter, Cody; Wright, Erin; Aragona, Brandon J. and Robinson, Terry E.
Learning & Memory, 23(11) (pp. 595-606)

Inhibiting cyclin-dependent kinase 5 in the nucleus accumbens enhances the expression of amphetamine-induced locomotor conditioning (2014-12-15)
Singer, B. F.; Forneris, J. and Vezina, P.
Behavioural Brain Research, 275 (pp. 96-100)

Rapid dopamine transmission within the nucleus accumbens: Dramatic difference between morphine and oxycodone delivery (2014-10)
Vander Weele, Caitlin M.; Porter-Stransky, Kirsten A.; Mabrouk, Omar S.; Lovic, Vedran; Singer, Bryan F.; Kennedy, Robert T. and Aragona, Brandon J.
European Journal of Neuroscience, 40(7) (pp. 3041-3054)

Locomotor conditioning by amphetamine requires cyclin-dependent kinase 5 signaling in the nucleus accumbens (2014-10)
Singer, Bryan F.; Neugebauer, Nichole M.; Forneris, Justin; Rodvelt, Kelli R.; Li, Dongdong; Bubula, Nancy and Vezina, Paul
Neuropharmacology, 85 (pp. 243-252)

Neuronal and psychological underpinnings of pathological gambling (2014-07-01)
Singer, Bryan F.; Anselme, Patrick; Robinson, Mike J. F. and Vezina, Paul
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8, Article 230

Unpredictable saccharin reinforcement enhances locomotor responding to amphetamine (2012-01-01)
Singer, B. F.; Scott-Railton, J. and Vezina, P.
Behavioural Brain Research, 226(1) (pp. 340-344)

Transient viral-mediated overexpression of α-calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II in the nucleus accumbens shell leads to long-lasting functional upregulation of α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate receptors: dopamine type-1 receptor and protein kinase A dependence (2010-04)
Singer, B. F.; Loweth, J. A.; Neve, R. L. and Vezina, P.
European Journal of Neuroscience, 31(7) (pp. 1243-1251)

Transient Overexpression of α-Ca2+/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II in the Nucleus Accumbens Shell Enhances Behavioral Responding to Amphetamine (2010)
Loweth, Jessica A.; Singer, Bryan F.; Baker, Lorinda K.; Wilke, Georgia; Inamine, Hidetoshi; Bubula, Nancy; Alexander, John K.; Carlezon, Jr., William A.; Neve, Racheal L. and Vezina, Paul
Journal of Neuroscience, 30(3) (pp. 939-949)

Amphetamine-Induced Changes in Dendritic Morphology in Rat Forebrain Correspond to Associative Drug Conditioning Rather than Nonassociative Drug Sensitization (2009-05-15)
Singer, Bryan F.; Tanabe, Lauren M.; Gorny, Grazyna; Jake-Matthews, Charmaine; Li, Yilin; Kolb, Bryan and Vezina, Paul
Biological Psychiatry, 65(10) (pp. 835-840)

Locating chronically implanted subdural electrodes using surface reconstruction (2005-08)
Hunter, John D.; Hanan, Diana M.; Singer, Bryan F.; Shaikh, Samir; Brubaker, Katherine A.; Hecox, Kurt E. and Towle, Vernon L.
Clinical Neurophysiology, 116(8) (pp. 1984-1987)

The myth of the drug-habit: defining addiction as a disease (2016-07-18)
Singer, Bryan
In: Newton, David ed. Youth Substance Abuse: A Reference Handbook. Contemporary World Issues (pp. 158-163)
ISBN : 978-1-4408-3982-5 | Publisher : ABC-CLIO | Published : Santa Barbara, CA

The Incentive-Sensitization Disease Model of Addiction: Where Are We Now? (2013-12-03)
Singer, Bryan F. and Robinson, Terry E.
In: Rennie, J. ed. McGraw-Hill Education Yearbook Of Science And Technology 2014. Science Reference (pp. 167-169)
ISBN : 9780071831062 | Publisher : McGraw-Hill | Published : New York