Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Navigate / search

Michael Lewis

Department :
Membership :
Associate Member
Core Research :
Office :
Room 619 North
Email :
Office Phone :
(212) 772-5280
Education :
  • Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology -Psychobiology), Temple University
Research Interest :

Dr. Lewis is a behavioral neuroscientist with an interest in the neurobiology of motivation. He investigates alcohol dependence, eating disorders, and substance abuse. His current research investigates the role of feeding and nutrition systems in alcohol reinforcement and dependence. Alcoholics frequently exhibit significant deterioration of brain, liver and other vital organ systems that regulate food intake and the utilization of nutrients. Possibly under such conditions, alcohol intake is motivated by its nutrient status and its effects on nutritional systems. Research, in collaboration with colleagues at Princeton and Rockefeller Universities, suggest that certain neuropeptides that increase food intake may play a role in increasing alcohol intake. The normal role of these peptide systems may be altered due to chronic intake so as to increase alcohol intake at the expense of normal nutrition. This research shows that galanin and opioid neuropeptide systems may increase alcohol intake during the development of dependence. In addition new research suggests a possible involvement of galanin in alcohol-related learning and memory deficits. Another research effort is to examine the role of neurobehavioral systems that mediate substance abuse in eating disorders. Behavioral and neurochemical systems that motivate substance abuse are examined in relationship to the development of obesity, binge eating, and anorexia.

Recently Dr. Lewis and colleagues at Columbia University received NIH funding to examine the role of retinoic acid and other retinoids in the effects of alcohol dependence.on liver, heart and brain systems.

Selected Publications :
  • Lewis, M.J. and Dictenberg, J.B. Genes, brain, and behavior: development gone awry in autism? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2010, 1205 Suppl 1:E21-36
  • Molina, J.A., Mennella, J.A., Lewis, M.J., Spear, N.E., Spear, L.P Alcohol and development: Beyond fetal alcohol syndrome. Developmental Psychobiology 2007, 49(3):227-42
  • Chang,G.Q., Karatayev, O, Ahsan, R., Avena, N. M, Lee, C, Lewis, M.J., Hoebel, B.G., Leibowitz, S.F. Effect of ethanol on hypothalamic opioid peptides, enkephalin and dynorphin: Relationship to circulating triglycerides. Alcoholiism: Clinical and Expeerimental Research 200731(2), 349-59.
  • Martinetti, M.P. and Lewis, M.J. A matching law choice analysis of ethanol consumption in alcohol preferring(P), non-preferring (NP), and Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research ,2007 31(8), 1338-48..
  • Woods. J.E., McKay, P.F., Seyoum, R., Chem,A., Masters, J., LaDuff,L., Lewis, M.J. and June, H.L. Differential responding for brain stimulation reward (BSR) and sucrose in haigh alcohol drinking (HAD) and low alcohol drinking (LAD) rats. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research , 2006, 27 (6), 926-36.
  • Lewis, M.J., Rada, P., Johnson, D.F., Avena, N.M., Leibowitz, S.F. and Hoebel, B.G. Galanin and alcohol dependence: Neurobehavrioral research. Neuroperptides 2005, 39 (3) 315-319.
  • Lewis, M.J., Johnson, D.F., Waldman, D., Leibowitz, S.F., and Hoebel, B.G. Galanin microinjection in the third ventricle increase voluntary ethanol intake. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2004, 28 (12), 1822-1828 (Selected for journal highlights and AAAS Science highlights)
  • Rada, P., Johnson, D.F., Lewis, M.J. and Hoebel. B.G. Naloxone decreases extracellular dopamine and increases acetylcholine in rats injected chronically with ethanol. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 2004, 79(4), 599-605.
  • Neuropharmacology of Ethanol: New Approaches. R.E. Meyer, G.F. Koob, M.J. Lewis, S.M. Paul, ed.; Birkhauser Press, 1991, pp. 271. (ACNP reviewed and sponsored volume).