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

Regulation of drug reward by cAMP response element-binding protein: evidence for two functionally distinct subregions of the ventral tegmental area.
Olson VG, Zabetian CP, Bolanos CA, Edwards S, Barrot M, Eisch AJ, Hughes T, Self DW, Neve RL, Nestler EJ J. Neurosci. 2005 Jun 25 23 5553-62
DeltaFosB accumulates in a GABAergic cell population in the posterior tail of the ventral tegmental area after psychostimulant treatment.
Perrotti LI, BolaƱos CA, Choi KH, Russo SJ, Edwards S, Ulery PG, Wallace DL, Self DW, Nestler EJ, Barrot M Eur. J. Neurosci. 2005 May 21 10 2817-24
Effects of dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) and transporter (SLC6A3) polymorphisms on smoking cue-induced cigarette craving among African-American smokers.
Erblich J, Lerman C, Self DW, Diaz GA, Bovbjerg DH Mol. Psychiatry 2005 Apr 10 4 407-14
Extinction training regulates neuroadaptive responses to withdrawal from chronic cocaine self-administration.
Self DW, Choi KH, Simmons D, Walker JR, Smagula CS Learn. Mem. 2004 Sep-Oct 11 5 648-57
Extinction-induced neuroplasticity attenuates stress-induced cocaine seeking: a state-dependent learning hypothesis.
Self DW, Choi KH Stress 2004 Sep 7 3 145-55
Applications of a rat multiple tissue gene expression data set.
Walker JR, Su AI, Self DW, Hogenesch JB, Lapp H, Maier R, Hoyer D, Bilbe G Genome Res. 2004 Apr 14 4 742-9
Testosterone reinforcement: intravenous and intracerebroventricular self-administration in male rats and hamsters.
Wood RI, Johnson LR, Chu L, Schad C, Self DW Psychopharmacology (Berl.) 2004 Jan 171 3 298-305
Stress-induced cigarette craving: effects of the DRD2 TaqI RFLP and SLC6A3 VNTR polymorphisms.
Erblich J, Lerman C, Self DW, Diaz GA, Bovbjerg DH Pharmacogenomics J. 2004 4 2 102-9
Regulation of drug-taking and -seeking behaviors by neuroadaptations in the mesolimbic dopamine system.
Self DW Neuropharmacology 2004 47 Suppl 1 242-55
Opposite effects of GluR1 and PKA-resistant GluR1 overexpression in the ventral tegmental area on cocaine reinforcement.
Choi KH, Rahman Z, Edwards S, Hall S, Neve RL, Self DW Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 2003 Nov 1003 372-4


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