Department of Psychology

Laboratory of Alcoholism and Addictions Neuroscience (LAAN)

Lab Personnel





Brendan Walker, Ph.D.

Dr. Walker received his Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from the Psychology Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2004. During his time at UCSB, he was mentored by Dr. Aaron Ettenberg, funded by a predoctoral NRSA from NIDA and conducted research focusing on opiate / benzodiazepine interactions in animal models of reward and reinforcement and the neurobiology of ethanol reward. Upon graduation, he initiated postdoctoral studies with Dr. George Koob at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the Department of Neuropharm-acology (today known as the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders). While at TSRI he was also funded by a postdoctoral NRSA from NIAAA that focused on alterations in opioid peptide systems during the transition to dependence. Following his postdoctoral studies, he moved into a Staff Scientist position at TSRI in the Molecular and Integrative Neuroscience Department where he continued to work on topics related to alcohol dependence and adolescent alcohol exposure. In 2008, Dr. Walker came to WSU and started the LAAN and while Pullman, WA is a tad different than La Jolla, CA, the exciting nature of the research is the same and what keeps life stimulating!. When he gets a few moments of free time, Dr. Walker tries to take advantage of the amazing outdoor activities that are local to WSU. Dr. Walker states, "We are extremely excited about the research being conducted here at WSU and are very fortunate to have an amazing team of researchers working within the LAAN. I am continuely impressed by the work ethic and aptitude of the trainiees (undergrad, grad and postdoc) I work with in the LAAN" 2012 was a big year for Dr. Walker because he was promoted to Associate Professor of Psychology (with Tenure) and received the highest honor bestowed upon early-career scientists by the United States governement, the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama (see PECASE page for more information).


Postdoctoral Research Associate(s)


Sunil Sirohi, Ph.D.

I received my undergraduate degree (B. Pharm.) in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Guru Jambheshwar University, India, and M.S., Ph.D degree in Pharmacology from St. John's University, NY. My graduate research work was largely based on studying various functional effects produced by different efficacy opioid antagonists and role of opioid agonist efficacy and treatment protocol in opioid receptor regulation, opioid analgesic tolerance and dependence. Dr. Walker’s lab has been exciting while we explore the biochemical, behavioral and neuropharm-acological aspects of alcohol and drug dependence.


Graduate Student(s)


Anthony Berger, B.S. - Grad Student

I am currently a graduate student at Washington State University.  I moved from Portland, OR to Phoenix, AZ to attend Arizona State University where I earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Biological Sciences and Psychology.  At ASU, I was a Research Assistant in a neuroscience lab which focused on the mechanisms underlying cocaine addiction.  I worked on projects that involved mediating symptoms of cocaine use through manipulation of the serotonin system and exploring genetic changes induced by cocaine self-administration.  At WSU, I plan to further explore the neurobiology of motivation and addiction.



Jessica Kissler, B.S. - Grad Student

I graduated from WSU Honors College in 2011 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. As I had already been an undergraduate researcher in the LAAN during my senior, I had the opportunity to apply for (and get) a Research Technician position in the LAAN, which I have held for over a year. I am now starting graduate school at WSU with Dr. Walker as my mentor.



Past LAAN Researchers


Spring 2012

Winter 2011

Spring 2011

Fall 2010

Fall 2009

Spring 2009















































Department of Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164