Michael Berquist II, Ph.D.

berquistProfessional Certifications and Education

B.S., Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI, 2011
M.S., Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI, 2013
Student Intern, Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals, Paramus, NJ, 2013
Ph.D., Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, 2016

Research Experience

I received training in behavioral pharmacology during my doctoral studies at Western Michigan University under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Baker. My dissertation research comprised a characterization of the discriminative stimulus effects (casually referred to as “subjective effects”) of two synthetic cathinones (illicit “bath salts” constituents), 3,4‑methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and 4‑methylmethcathinone (4-MMC), using a rodent drug discrimination task. The results revealed that MDPV and 4-MMC produce discriminative stimulus effects that are comparable to prototypical drugs of abuse, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and 3,4‑methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”). As such, pharmacological compounds that block or attenuate the subjective effects produced by methamphetamine, cocaine, and Ecstasy may also block the effects produced by MDPV and 4-MMC, indicating potential therapeutic utility for recreational synthetic cathinone users. In addition, while completing my doctoral studies, fellow lab members and I completed several experiments that evaluated the effects of drug mixtures on ambulatory activity in rodents using a locomotor sensitization assay. Locomotor sensitization procedures are common preclinical screening measures used to predict whether drugs stimulate brain reward pathways associated with drug abuse and addiction. Together, the results of those experiments indicate that specific doses and select mixtures of MDPV and 4-MMC with other drugs of abuse produce locomotor sensitization, and that the locomotor sensitization preparation is a useful model for exploring the behavioral effects of drug mixtures.

Research Interests

I am training in preclinical models of drug abuse as a postdoctoral fellow under the NIDA T32 grant (“Translational Training in Addiction”; Director: Dr. Clint Kilts), jointly-mentored by Dr. William Fantegrossi and Dr. Michael Owens. My research interests include evaluating the discriminative stimulus effects of deuterated compounds and drug enantiomers, the relative reinforcing efficacies and thermoregulatory effects of emerging drugs of abuse, the combined behavioral effects produced by drug mixtures, and novel data path analyses for psychopharmacological experiments.

Recent Publications

Berquist II, M.D., Traxler, H.K., Mahler, A.M., & Baker, L.E. (2016). Behavioral sensitization to the hyperlocomotor effects of “bath salt” mixtures, 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) and 3,4‑methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 16, 128-134.

Berquist II, M.D., Peet, M.M., & Baker, L.E. (2015). Behavioral sensitization following concurrent exposure to mephedrone and d-amphetamine in female mice. Behavioural Pharmacology, 26, 180-183.