• 6595 Citations
  • 35 h-Index
1979 …2020
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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Kent Vrana has more than 30 years of research experience in molecular neuropharmacology.

Notably, he has been actively involved in the neuroenzymology and molecular neurobiology since he was a graduate student in 1979. Over the years, his laboratory was the first to create a full-length cDNA clone for tyrosine hydroxylase and to characterize the role of catecholamine-derived quinones in neuronal toxicity. He is currently using next-generation sequencing technologies to explore the roles of naturally-occurring sequence variants in the progression and severity of Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease. In addition, he has a long history of studying the proteomics and transcriptomics of substance abuse (alcohol, cocaine and heroin).

Dr. Vrana’s laboratory was part of a team that established a new mechanism for generating embryonic stem cells. He has published widely on stem cell biology and has also patented a method for using nanoliposomal delivery of the bioactive lipid ceramide to maintain human induced pluripotent and embryonic stem cells in their undifferentiated state. More recently, he has been investigating the role of synthetic cannabinoids in colon cancer, glioblastoma and neuroblastoma.

From a technical standpoint, Dr. Vrana's laboratory has been instrumental in developing and disseminating tools for analyzing gene and protein expression, as well as characterizing normal and pathological processes.

Education/Academic qualification

Biochemistry, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

… → 1983

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  • 6 Similar Profiles
Tryptophan Hydroxylase Medicine & Life Sciences
Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase Medicine & Life Sciences
Gene Expression Medicine & Life Sciences
Self Administration Medicine & Life Sciences
Gene expression Chemical Compounds
Cocaine Medicine & Life Sciences
Messenger RNA Medicine & Life Sciences
Enzymes Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 1979 2020


Vrana, K., Wood, F., Ferris, M., Jones, S. R., Booze, R., Howlett, A., Dworkin, S., Porrino, L., Davies, H. M., Deadwyler, S. A., Roberts, D. C. S., Morton, K., Hemby, S. E., Beveridge, T. J. R., Childers, S., Nader, M., Bennett, B., Porrino, L. J., Deadwyler, S. A., Roberts, D. C. S., Davies, H., Morgan, D. & Smith, J.

National Institutes of Health


Project: Research project

Substance-Related Disorders
Street Drugs
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Blood Proteins
Drinking Behavior
Self Administration
Self Administration
Cocaine-Related Disorders
Gene Expression

Research Output 1981 2019

Abstracts of Presentations at the Association of Clinical Scientists 139th Meeting Hershey, PA, May 15-18, 2019

Donaldson, K., Buchanich, J. M., Grigson, P. S., Deneke, E., Vrana, K. E., Sacks, D. B., Kuehn, G. J., Cardamone, D., Pesce, A., Smiley, S., Nickley, J., Krock, K., Thomas, R., Wilkerson, M. L., Farag, H. A., Challa, S. R., Tice, A. M., Wolk, D. M., Prichard, J., Grant, M. L. & 102 others, Regmi, S., Kerbacher, B., Quinton, L. E., Tice, A. M., Olson, J., Haynes, A., Yu, E., McCully, K. S., Assi, J., Wong, M., Zarrin-Khameh, N., Nifong, T. P., Hawker, C. D., Carlton, G. T., Rivera, J. M., Foulis, P. R., Zuraw, A., Morlote, D., Peker, D., Reddy, V., Harada, S., Crutchfield, C., Zander, D., Barbhuiya, M. A., Pederson, E. C., Straub, M. L., Scott, S. C., Neibauer, T. L., Salter, W. F., Creer, M. H., Zhu, Y., Bornhorst, J. A., Theobald, J. P., Algeciras-Schimnich, A., Cao, L., Knox, J., Hardy, R., Texas, H. J., McGuire, M. F., Hunter, R. L., Brown, R. E., Hicks, J., Cai, Z., Brown, R. E., Ali, Y., Cheng, K. C., Katz, S. R., Ding, Y., Vanselow, D. J., Yakovlev, M. A., Lin, A. Y., Clark, D. P., Vargas, P., Xin, X., Copper, J. E., Canfield, V. A., Ang, K. C., Wang, Y., Xiao, X., De Carlo, F., van Rossum, D. B., La Rivière, P. J., Newell, J., Hossler, C., Roche, M., Warrick, J., Phaeton, R., Kesterson, J., Myers, C., Barrios, R., Mintz, P., Robyak, K., Hamilton, C., McGhee, P., Pederson, C., Straub, M., Scott, S., Neibauer, T., Salter, W., Robyak, K., Singh, N., Morlote, D., Vnencak-Jones, C., Yemelyanova, A., Harada, S., Shah, M., Moghadamtousi, S. Z., Lan, C., Duose, D., Hu, P., Esquenazi, Y., Luthra, R., Ballester, L. Y., Koenig, A. N., Liu, C. G., Zhang, J., Kalia, A., Al-Habib, A., Van Arsdall, M., Dhingra, S., Patel, K. & Tatevian, N., May 1 2019, In : Annals of clinical and laboratory science. 49, 3, p. 403-416 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
Open Access
dopamine beta-monooxygenase
Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase
inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Dopamine beta-hydroxylase and its genetic variants in human health and disease

Gonzalez-Lopez, E. & Vrana, K. E., Jan 1 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Journal of neurochemistry.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase
Genetic Polymorphisms
2 Citations (Scopus)
Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels
Abdominal Pain
Pain Perception
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
4 Citations (Scopus)

Exposure to environmental enrichment attenuates addiction-like behavior and alters molecular effects of heroin self-administration in rats

Imperio, C. G., McFalls, A. J., Hadad, N., Blanco-Berdugo, L., Masser, D. R., Colechio, E. M., Coffey, A. A., Bixler, G. V., Stanford, D. R., Vrana, K., Grigson-Kennedy, P. S. & Freeman, W. M., Sep 1 2018, In : Neuropharmacology. 139, p. 26-40 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Self Administration
Environmental Exposure
Genetic Promoter Regions


Fellow (Elected)

Kent Vrana (Recipient), 2016

Prize: Honorary award