Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Utah (2020)
  • BS, Montana State University, Bioengineering (2014)
  • MS, University of Utah, Bioengineering (2017)
  • PhD, University of Utah, Biomedical Engineering (2020)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Neuropeptide Y and representation of salience in human nucleus accumbens NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY Warthen, K. G., Sanford, B., Walker, K., Jones, K. G., Angstadt, M., Sripada, C., Goldman, D., Zubieta, J., Welsh, R. C., Burmeister, M., Mickey, B. J. 2019; 44 (3): 495–502


    Neuropeptide Y (NPY) produces anxiolytic effects in rodent models, and naturally occurring low NPY expression in humans has been associated with negative emotional phenotypes. Studies in rodent models have also demonstrated that NPY elicits reward behaviors through its action in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), but the impact of NPY on the human NAc is largely unexplored. We recruited 222 healthy young adults of either sex and genetically selected 53 of these subjects at the extremes of NPY expression (Low-NPY and High-NPY) to participate in functional magnetic resonance imaging. Responses of the NAc and surrounding ventral striatum were quantified during a monetary incentive delay task in which stimuli varied by salience (high versus low) and valence (win versus loss). We found that bilateral NAc responses to high-salience versus low-salience stimuli were greater for Low-NPY subjects relative to High-NPY subjects, regardless of stimulus valence. To our knowledge, these results provide the first evidence in humans linking NPY with salience sensitivity of the NAc, raising the possibility that individual differences in NPY expression moderate the risk for disorders of mesoaccumbal function such as addictions and mood disorders. Additionally, we found that head motion was greater among High-NPY subjects, consistent with previous reports linking NPY with hyperactivity. Future studies in animal models are warranted to elucidate the neural mechanisms through which NPY influences NAc function and related behaviors.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41386-018-0230-6

    View details for Web of Science ID 000455713600006

    View details for PubMedID 30337638

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6333772