William E. Fantegrossi, Ph.D.


Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology


Phone: (501) 686-8645
Fax: (501) 686-8970
E-mail: WEFantegrossi@uams.edu

Research Experience

I received an undergraduate degree in Psychology (experimental track) from The American University in Washington, DC in 1995. After that I worked at the National Institutes of Health on a project investigating novel pharmacotherapies for cocaine abuse in nonhuman primates. From there I moved with my PI to the Louisiana State University Medical Center in Shreveport, LA where I continued to work with nonhuman primates, and began to learn new rodent models as well. In the Fall of 1997 I began graduate school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, and ultimately received a Ph.D. in Biological Psychology in 2002 after completing a dissertation on the in vivo pharmacology of MDMA (“ecstasy”), its enantiomers, and related compounds. I remained in Ann Arbor for 2 years as a post-doctoral fellow jointly mentored by PIs in the Department of Pharmacology and the Department of Radiology, then moved to the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, GA as a Research Associate. While I Yerkes I rose to the rank of Research Assistant Professor, before moving to the UAMS Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology as an Assistant Professor in 2007.

Research Interests – My research interests focus on the behavioral pharmacology of drugs of abuse. Specifically, for over 10 years I have been investigating the reinforcing and discriminative stimulus effects of psychostimulants, opioids, hallucinogens, and cannabinoids in mice, rats, and non-human primates. To the extent that I am an expert in anything, I am probably most known for my work with “emerging” drugs of abuse – typically structural analogues of old compounds which are primarily available through the internet. My laboratory has established several fruitful collaborations with other UAMS faculty members to expand our behavioral observations, correlating changes in neuropharmacological measures with functional data. I am a member of the Center for Translational Neuroscience (CTN) and the Center for Addiction Research (CAR) at UAMS. Interacting with these scientific and clinical colleagues across campus provides a strong and supportive environment for career development at UAMS. More recently, I have become a member of the Arkansas Center for Drug Detection and Response (CDDR). The mission of the CDDR is to establish a multi-dimensional and applied forensic science research program that (1) provides scientific rationale for criminal justice policy decisions regulating synthetic cannabinoids and other emerging drugs of abuse and (2) facilitates the development and standardization of technology, reagents, and standard operating procedures capable of assaying synthetic cannabinoids and other emerging drugs of abuse.

Recent Publications

Baumann MH, Solis E Jr, Watterson LR, Marusich JA, Fantegrossi WE and Wiley JL (2014) Baths salts, spice, and related designer drugs: the science behind the headlines. J Neurosci 34(46):15150-8.

Smith DA, Bailey JM, Williams D and Fantegrossi WE (2014) Tolerance and cross-tolerance to head twitch behavior elicited by phenethylamine- and tryptamine-derived hallucinogens in mice. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 351(3):485-91.

Fantegrossi WE, Gray BW, Bailey JM, Smith DA, Hansen M and Kristensen JL (2014) Hallucinogen-like effects of 2-([2-(4-cyano-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl) ethylamino]methyl)phenol (25CN-NBOH), a novel N-benzylphenethylamine with 100-fold selectivity for 5-HT2A receptors, in mice. Psychopharmacology, in press

Marshell R, Kearney-Ramos T, Brents LK, Hyatt WS, Tai S, Prather PL and Fantegrossi WE (2014) In vivo effects of synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073 and phytocannabinoid Δ9-THC in mice: inhalation versus intraperitoneal injection. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 124:40-7.

Norwood AP, Al-Chaer ED and Fantegrossi WE (2014) Predisposing effects of neonatal visceral pain on abuse-related effects of morphine in adult male Sprague Dawley rats. Psychopharmacology 231(22):4281-9.

Hyatt WS and Fantegrossi WE (2014) Δ9-THC exposure attenuates aversive effects and reveals appetitive effects of K2/’Spice’ constituent JWH-018 in mice. Behav Pharmacol 25(3):253-7.

Patton AL, Seely KA, Pulla S, Rusch NJ, Moran CL, Fantegrossi WE, Knight LD, Marraffa JM, Kennedy PD, James LP, Endres GW and Moran JH (2014) Quantitative measurement of acetyl fentanyl and acetyl norfentanyl in human urine by LC-MS/MS. Anal Chem 86(3):1760-6.

Fantegrossi WE, Moran JH, Radominska-Pandya A and Prather PL (2014) Distinct pharmacology and metabolism of K2 synthetic cannabinoids compared to Δ(9)-THC: mechanism underlying greater toxicity? Life Sci 97(1):45-54.

Seely KA, Patton AL, Moran CL, Womack ML, Prather PL, Fantegrossi WE, Radominska-Pandya A, Endres GW, Channell KB, Smith NH, McCain KR, James LP and Moran JH (2013) Forensic investigation of K2, Spice, and “bath salt” commercial preparations: a three-year study of new designer drug products containing synthetic cannabinoid, stimulant, and hallucinogenic compounds. Forensic Sci Int 233(1-3):416-22.

Fantegrossi WE, McCain KR, Moran JH and Hoffman RS (2013) Not simply synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol. J Pediatr 163(6):1797-8.

Patton AL, Seely KA, Chimalakonda KC, Tran JP, Trass M, Miranda A, Fantegrossi WE, Kennedy PD, Dobrowolski P, Radominska-Pandya A, McCain KR, James LP, Endres GW and Moran JH (2013) Targeted metabolomic approach for assessing human synthetic cannabinoid exposure and pharmacology. Anal Chem 85(19):9390-9.

Brents LK, Zimmerman SM, Saffell AR, Prather PL and Fantegrossi WE (2013) Differential drug-drug interactions of the synthetic Cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073: implications for drug abuse liability and pain therapy. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 346(3):350-61.

Vasiljevik T, Franks LN, Ford BM, Douglas JT, Prather PL, Fantegrossi WE and Prisinzano TE (2013) Design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of aminoalkylindole derivatives as cannabinoid receptor ligands with potential for treatment of alcohol abuse. J Med Chem 56(11):4537-50.

Fantegrossi WE, Gannon BM, Zimmerman SM and Rice KC (2013) In vivo effects of abused ‘bath salt’ constituent 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) in mice: drug discrimination, thermoregulation, and locomotor activity. Neuropsychopharmacology 38(4):563-73.