Charles France




Charles France, Ph.D.

Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry, Professor of Pharmacology, and Professor of Psychiatry

Personal Statement:

Research in the France laboratory focuses on interactions between behavior and pharmacology and how those interactions impact the abuse liability of drugs. One major goal is to understand how the subjective and other abuse-related effects of drugs change as a consequence of particular behavioral and pharmacologic histories. Behavioral procedures developed in this laboratory permit systemic investigation of drug dependence and withdrawal and ongoing studies examine how these phenomena can be modified by behavioral and pharmacologic interventions.
A unifying theme of research in the France laboratory is the application of receptor theory to the planning, execution, and interpretation of behavioral pharmacological studies. Thus, many of our studies examine differences in efficacy and selectivity among potential drugs of abuse and potential treatment compounds, thereby identifying the pharmacologic characteristics of drugs that are most important for specific behavioral effects (e.g., reinforcing effects).
Current areas of research include the following: the role of different monoamine systems in modifying the abuse and therapeutic effects of opioids; the impact of different diets on the abuse and therapeutic effects of drug acting on serotonin or dopamine systems; interactions between GHB and other “club drugs”; the role of insulin receptor pathways in regulating dopamine transporter activity and sensitivity to stimulants; GABA receptor heterogeneity and the dependence liability of sedative/hypnotics; and the influence of physical dependence on the reinforcing effects of opioids.


Ph.D., University of Michigan


• drug abuse • opioids
• benzodiazepines • neuropharmacology
• drug discrimination • self administration
• dependence • withdrawal


Secretary/Treasurer-Elect – American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Governing Board – July 2015

Councilor – American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) Governing Board – July 2012

Lab Members

David Maguire
David Maguire, Ph.D.
Vanessa Minervini
Vanessa Minervini, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Cindal Dominguez
Cindal Dominguez
Research Coordinator
Eli Desarno
Research Assistant
Steven Garza
Research Assistant
Sarah Howard
Research Assistant
Jade Jaurez
Research Assistant


Collins GT, Gerak LR, France CP (2017) The behavioral pharmacology and therapeutic potential of lorcaserin for substance use disorders. Neuropharmacology. PMID29246856
Weed PF, France CP, Gerak LR (2017) Preference for an opioid/benzodiazepine mixture over an opioid alone using a concurrent choice procedure in rhesus monkeys.  Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 362, 59-66. PMID28438777, PMC5461725
Minervini V, Dahal S, France CP (2017) Behavioral characterization of κ opioid receptor agonist spiradoline/cannabinoid receptor agonist CP55940 mixtures in rats. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 360, 280-287. PMID27903642, PMC5267513
Gerak LR, France CP (2016) Combined treatment with morphine and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in rhesus monkeys: antinociceptive tolerance and withdrawal. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 357, 357-366. PMID26937020, PMC4851324