Dr. Self received his bachelor’s in Zoology from Iowa State University in 1985, and worked as a biochemist at Endocrine Sciences in Los Angeles, CA until 1987. Dr. Self entered graduate school in 1987 in the Department of Pharmacology at UC Irvine, and received a Ph.D. there in 1992. Dr. Self was a postdoctoral fellow from 1992-1995 in the Division of Molecular Psychiatry at Yale University. Dr. Self was appointed to an Assistant Professorship in the Psychiatry Department at Yale University in 1996.

In late 2000, Dr. Self joined the UT Southwestern faculty as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Seay Center for Basic and Applied Research in Psychiatric Illness. Dr. Self has pioneered work on the role of neuroadaptations in addictive behavior, and has identified important neurobiological mechanisms underlying drug craving and relapse to drug seeking. In 1996, he was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award by the White House, and in 2006, the prestigious Daniel H. Efron Award by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, for contributions relating to this work. Dr. Self was appointed Director of the Psychiatry Neuroscience Division in 2013. His laboratory continues to implement modern molecular technology in the study of addictive behavior.


Iowa St Univ Science Technol (1985), Zoology
Graduate School
Uni of California-Irvine (1992), Pharmacology

Research Interest

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurobiology of Addiction
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Systems Neuroscience


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Role of mu- and delta-opioid receptors in the nucleus accumbens in cocaine-seeking behavior.
Simmons D, Self DW Neuropsychopharmacology 2009 Jul 34 8 1946-57
Phosphorylation of GluR1, ERK, and CREB during spontaneous withdrawal from chronic heroin self-administration.
Edwards S, Graham DL, Whisler KN, Self DW Synapse 2009 Mar 63 3 224-35
Increased impulsivity during withdrawal from cocaine self-administration: role for DeltaFosB in the orbitofrontal cortex.
Winstanley CA, Bachtell RK, Theobald DE, Laali S, Green TA, Kumar A, Chakravarty S, Self DW, Nestler EJ Cereb. Cortex 2009 Feb 19 2 435-44
Renewed cocaine exposure produces transient alterations in nucleus accumbens AMPA receptor-mediated behavior.
Bachtell RK, Self DW J. Neurosci. 2008 Nov 28 48 12808-14
Role of GluR1 expression in nucleus accumbens neurons in cocaine sensitization and cocaine-seeking behavior.
Bachtell RK, Choi KH, Simmons DL, Falcon E, Monteggia LM, Neve RL, Self DW Eur. J. Neurosci. 2008 May 27 9 2229-40
Distinct patterns of DeltaFosB induction in brain by drugs of abuse.
Perrotti LI, Weaver RR, Robison B, Renthal W, Maze I, Yazdani S, Elmore RG, Knapp DJ, Selley DE, Martin BR, Sim-Selley L, Bachtell RK, Self DW, Nestler EJ Synapse 2008 May 62 5 358-69
Withdrawal from cocaine self-administration normalizes deficits in proliferation and enhances maturity of adult-generated hippocampal neurons.
Noonan MA, Choi KH, Self DW, Eisch AJ J. Neurosci. 2008 Mar 28 10 2516-26
Molecular adaptations underlying susceptibility and resistance to social defeat in brain reward regions.
Krishnan V, Han MH, Graham DL, Berton O, Renthal W, Russo SJ, Laplant Q, Graham A, Lutter M, Lagace DC, Ghose S, Reister R, Tannous P, Green TA, Neve RL, Chakravarty S, Kumar A, Eisch AJ, Self DW, Lee FS, Tamminga CA, Cooper DC, Gershenfeld HK, Nestler EJ Cell 2007 Oct 131 2 391-404
DeltaFosB induction in orbitofrontal cortex mediates tolerance to cocaine-induced cognitive dysfunction.
Winstanley CA, LaPlant Q, Theobald DE, Green TA, Bachtell RK, Perrotti LI, DiLeone RJ, Russo SJ, Garth WJ, Self DW, Nestler EJ J. Neurosci. 2007 Sep 27 39 10497-507
Region-specific tolerance to cocaine-regulated cAMP-dependent protein phosphorylation following chronic self-administration.
Edwards S, Graham DL, Bachtell RK, Self DW Eur. J. Neurosci. 2007 Apr 25 7 2201-13


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Honors & Awards

  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
    Elected to Fellow (2011)
  • Daniel H. Efron Research Award
    American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2006)
  • Lydia Bryant Test Professorship
    Dept. of Psychiatry. UT Southwestern Medical Center (2001)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
    Awarded by the White House for "Innovative integration of molecular biology with behavioral, pharmacological and biochemical techniques in the study of drug addiction" (1996)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • College on Problems of Drug Dependence
  • European Behavioural Pharmacology Society
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Society of Biological Psychiatry