Dr. Chana K. Akins is a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky. She serves as a faculty member in the behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology area and is the current associate chair of the department. She received her Ph.D. in 1994 from the University of Texas, where she conducted research on learning and sexual behavior under the direction of Dr. Michael Domjan. Her current research involves investigating the effects of drugs of abuse on reward and sexual motivation. She has a unique avian model, Japanese quail. She has more than 40 publications and has published in journals such as Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior; Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology; Behavioural Pharmacology; and Physiology and Behavior. Dr. Akins has been the recipient of a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study drugs of abuse using an avian model. She currently has an R01 from NIDA to study the effects of cocaine on sexual motivation. She has served as secretary-treasurer for American Psychological Association’s Division 6 (Behavioral Neuroscience & Comparative Psychology) and as awards chair for Division 28 (Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse). She is currently the president of Division 6.
Evidence has been increasing that drugs of abuse alter sexual motivation, arousal, and performance. Drugs use also has been linked to an increase in high risk sexual behaviors such as increased sexual activity, multiple sex partners, and unprotected sex. This presentation will review the findings of the effect of drugs of abuse on sexual motivation and performance in humans and nonhuman animals, including those from a laboratory with an avian species. In particular, the effects of commonly abused drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine will be discussed. The presentation also will include data on the effects of drugs of abuse on a risk-taking model recently developed in a laboratory. Finally, potential brain areas where drugs of abuse may be exerting their effect on sexual behavior will be discussed.
Review Chana K. Akins’s biographical statement.