Anita Bechtholt

Ph.D. Graduate (2004)

bechtholtUndergraduate Education  

(1996) BS Psychology, Washington State University

Training at OHSU


Second Year Project

(2000) Repeated nicotine pretreatment increases cocaine self-administration using a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement in rats. (Advisor: Gregory Mark, PhD) 


(2004) Central opioid influences on conditioned ethanol reward and aversion. (Mentor: Christopher Cunningham, PhD)

Previous Positions

(2004 - 2007) Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Philadelphia PA (Postdoctoral Advisor: Irwin Lucki, PhD)

(2007-2008) Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont MA (Postdoctoral Advisors: William Carlezon; PhD, Anne Cataldo, PhD; Bruce Cohen, MD, PhD; Dost Ongur, MD, PhD)

(2008-2011) Instructor, Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont MA

(2011-2012) Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont MA

(2012-2014) Health Scientist Administrator, Program Director, Division of Neuroscience and Behavior, NIAAA

Current Position

Heath Scientist Administrator, Program Director, Division of Treatment and Recovery Research, NIAAA


My OHSU experience

I chose to get my PhD in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience at OHSU because the department was so well equipped to do expert addiction research and also how friendly, happy, and supportive the students and faculty seemed during my interview. These impressions were only strengthened once I started my PhD. I really enjoyed my graduate experience at OHSU and feel that my training was superior to that of many of my peers who did not attend OHSU. The main reason for this outcome is how seriously the department, as a whole (and especially my mentor, Chris Cunningham), takes training. They asked me the hard questions, but always with the interest of making me a better scientist. This training prepared me to do ethical, reliable and great science! Don't get me wrong, graduate school was a difficult experience with high highs and low lows, I just can't imagine having done it anywhere else.

Living in Portland made the hard times a lot easier. Looking at the view of Mt. Hood while I walked home or hiking through the arboretum always softened the blow of a failed experiment. I really enjoyed living in Portland and miss the great food, great wine, beautiful hikes (like Bull of the Woods and Dog Mountain), picturesque beaches, and close by skiing.

Awards, Grants, and Honors

1996 cum laude, Washington State University

1997 Dean's Research Award, Western Washington University

1998-1999 Institutional Predoctoral NRSA, NIAAA

1999-2002 Institutional Prredoctoral NRSA, NIDA

2000 Tartar Trust Fellowship, Oregon Health & Science University

2002-2003 Individual Predoctoral NRSA, NIAAA, F31AA013796

2003-2004 Student Merit Award, Research Society on Alcoholism

2004 Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award, Research Society on Alcoholism

2004-2006 Institutional NRSA, NIMH

2006 Best Student Publication of 2005, Oregon Health & Science University

2006-2008 Young Investigator Award, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression

2008-2009 Mental Health Research Scholar, Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation

2009 Young Investigator Memorial Travel Award, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

2009-2011 R03 AA018977, NIAAA

2009-2011  R03 MH087695, NIMH

2010-2012 Young Investigator Award, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression

2012 Eleanor and Miles Shore Harvard Medical School Fellowship

2012 ABMRF, The Foundation for Alcohol Research

2012 Selected for Application, Hope for Depression Foundation

2012 Selected for Application, Whitehall Foundation


Wright JW, Bechtholt AJ, Chambers SL, Harding JW. Angiotensin III & IV activation of the brain AT1 receptor subtype in cardiovascular function. Peptides. 1996;17(8):1365-1371.

Bechtholt AJ, Mark GP . Enhancement of cocaine-seeking behaviors by repeated nicotine exposure. Psychopharmacology. 2002;62(2):178-85.

Bechtholt AJ, Smith R, Raber J, Cunningham CL. Enhanced ethanol-, but not cocaine-induced, conditioned place preference in Apoe-/- mice. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2004;77(4):783-792.

Bechtholt AJ, Gremel CM, Cunningham CL. Handling blocks expression of conditioned place aversion but not conditioned place preference produced by ethanol in mice. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2004;79(4):739-44.

Bechtholt AJ, Cunningham CL. Ethanol-induced conditioned place preference is expressed through a ventral tegmental area dependent mechanism. Behavioral Neuroscience. 2005;119 (1):213-23.

Bechtholt AJ, Lucki I. Effects of Serotonin-related Gene Deletion on Measures of Anxiety, Depression and Neurotransmission. In: Roth BL, editor, Serotonin receptors. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press;2006. p. 577-606.

Mark GP, Kinney AE, Grubb MC, Zhu X, Finn DA, Mader SL, Berger SP, Bechtholt AJ. Injection of oxotremorine in nucleus accumbens shell reduces cocaine but not food self administration in rats. Brain Research. 2006;1123(1):51-9.

Bechtholt AJ, Lucki I. Anxiolytic effect of serotonin depletion in the novelty-induced hypophagia test. Psychopharmacology. 2007;190(4):531-40.

Gur TL, Conti AC, Holden J,Bechtholt AJ, Hill TE, Lucki I, Malberg JE, Blendy JA. cAMP response element-binding protein deficiency allows for increased neurogenesis and a rapid onset of antidepressant response. Journal of Neuroscience. 2007;27:7860-8.

O'Leary OF, Bechtholt AJ, Crowley JJ, Hill TE, Page ME, Lucki I. Depletion of serotonin and catecholamines block the acute behavioral response to different classes of antidepressant drugs in the mouse tail suspension test. Psychopharmacology. 2007;192:357-71.

O'Leary O, Bechtholt AJ, Crowley JJ, Valentino RJ, Lucki I. The role of noradrenergic tone in the dorsal raphe nucleus of the mouse in the acute behavioral effects of antidepressant drugs. European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 2007;17(3):215-26.

Bechtholt AJ, Valentino RJ, Lucki I. Overlapping and Distinct Brain Regions Associated with the Anxiolytic Effects of Chlordiazepoxide and Chronic Fluoxetine. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008;[Epub ahead of print].

Bechtholt AJ, Smith K, Gaughan S, Lucki I. Sucrose intake and fasting glucose levels in 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptor mutant mice. Physiology & Behavior. 2008;93(4-5):659-65.

Bechtholt-Gompf AJ, Walther HV, Adams MA, Carlezon WA Jr, Öngür D, Cohen BM (2010) Blockade of astrocytic glutamate uptake in rats induces signs of anhedonia and impaired spatial memory. Neuropsychopharmacology. 35(10): 2049-2059. Editor's choice as "Featured Article". PMCID: PMC3055299

Bechtholt-Gompf AJ, Smith KL, John CJ, Kang HH, Carlezon WA Jr, Cohen BM, Öngür D (2011) CD-1 and Balb/cJ mice do not show enduring antidepressant-like effects of ketamine in test of acute antidepressant efficacy. 215(4): 689-95. Psychopharmacology. Recommended in Faculty 100. 

John CS, Smith KL, V'ant Veer A, Gompf HS, Carlezon WA. Cohen BM, Öngür D, Bechtholt-Gompf AJ. (2012) Blockade of astrocytic glutamate uptake in the prefrontal cortex induces anhedonia. Neuropsychopharmacology. 37(11):2467-75  PMCID: PMC3442341

Myers KM, Bechtholt-Gompf AJ, Coleman BR, Carlezon WA Jr. (2012) Extinction of conditioned opiate withdrawal in rats in a two-chambered place conditioning apparatus. Nature Protocols. 23;7(3):517-26 

Van't Veer A*, Bechtholt AJ*, Onvani S, Potter D, Wang Y, Liu-Chen LY, Schütz G, Chartoff EH, Rudolph U, Cohen BM, Carlezon WA Jr. (2013) Ablation of kappa-opioid receptors from brain dopamine neurons has anxiolytic-like effects and enhances cocaine-induced plasticity. Neuropsychopharmacology. 38(8):1585-97 *denotes equal contribution. PMCID: PMC3682153

Smith KL, John CS, Sypek EI, Ongür D, Cohen BM, Barry SM, Bechtholt AJ (2014) Exploring the role of central astrocytic glutamate uptake in ethanol reward in mice. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 38(5):1307-14 

Öngür D, Bechtholt AJ, Carlezon WA Jr, Cohen BM (in press) Glial abnormalities in mood disorders. Harvard Review of Psychiatry

Date last updated: November 13, 2014