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Nancy A. Ator, Ph.D.

Director, Division of Behavioral Biology
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


  • Director, Division of Behavioral Biology
  • Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Research Interests

Study of interoceptive stimulus functions of psychoactive drugs; In vivo characterization of selective GABAergic compounds to determine behavioral relevance of novel in-vitro activity with respect to drug abuse; Preclinical characterization of anxiolytics, hypnotics; Behavioral pharmacology and drug abuse


  • English
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  • Education +


    • B.A., University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 1972
    • M.S., University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 1974
    • Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 1978


    • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, 1978
  • Research & Publications +

    Selected Publications

    Ator NA, Weerts EM, Kaminski, BJ, Kautz MA, Griffiths RR. Zaleplon and triazolam physical dependence assessed across increasing doses under a once-daily dosing regimen in baboons. Drug and Alcohol Dependence:61:69-84. (2000)

    Ator NA, Kautz MA. Differentiating benzodiazepine and barbituate-like discriminative stimulus effects of lorazepam, diazepam, pentobarbital, imidazenil, and zaleplon in two versus three lever procedures. Behavioural Pharmacology:11:1-14. (2000)

    Ator NA. Zaleplon and triazolam: Drug discrimination, plasma levels, and self-administration in baboons. Drug and Alcohol Dependence: 61:69-84. (2000)

    Ator NA. Relation between discriminative and reinforcing effects of midazolam, pentobarbital, chlordiazepoxide, zolpidem, and imidazenil in baboons. Psychopharmacology: 163:477-487. (2002)

    Ator NA, Griffiths RR. Principles of drug abuse liability assessment in laboratory animals. Drug and Alcohol Dependence: 70: S55-S72. (2003)

    Ator NA. Contributions of GABAa receptor subtype selectivity to abuse liability and dependence potential of pharmacological treatments for anxiety and sleep disorders. CNS Spectrums:10: 31-39. (2005)

    Ator, N. A., Atack, J. R., Hargreaves, R. J., Burns, H. D., and Dawson, G. R. (2010) Reducing abuse liability of GABAA/benzodiazepine ligands via selective partial-agonist efficacy at α1 and α2/3 subtypes.  Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 332:  4-16.  (Published online September 29, 2009; doi:10.1124/jpet.109.158303)

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  • Contact & Locations +


    • Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - Behavioral Biology

    For Research Inquiries Contact

    Behavioral Biology Research Center, Room 3000
    Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus
    5510 Nathan Shock Drive
    Baltimore, MD 21224

    Phone 410-550-2773
    Fax 410-550-2780


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