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Dr. Deanne Buffalari Publishes Paper in Nicotine and Tobacco Research

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Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dr. Deanne Buffalari, assistant professor of psychology and chair of the neuroscience program at Westminster College, has recently had work published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research as part of a collaboration with researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.

The paper, "Nicotine enhances footshock- and lithium-chloride induced conditioned place avoidance in male rats," examines how nicotine affects behavior motivated by aversive stimuli, and helps aid in our understanding of how nicotine might support addiction.

“If we continue to improve our understanding of nicotine and how it works, we can improve our ability to combat tobacco dependence,” said Buffalari, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

“The general idea is that nicotine makes good things better.  If you have a cup of coffee, the coffee is good; if you smoke a cigarette, that feels good; and if you smoke a cigarette and then have a cup of coffee, the nicotine in the cigarette enhances the coffee and makes it seem better,” said Buffalari.

Buffalari took the idea, “nicotine making good things better,” and started to ask the question, “What about bad things?”

Her initial findings suggest that nicotine makes negative stimuli worse. Further investigation continues with students in the neuroscience program at Westminster throughout coursework and experimentation.

For more information, contact Buffalari at or (724) 946-7358.