Amanda L. Sharpe, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Phone (405) 271-6593 x47243

Fax (405) 271-7505



The Sharpe lab is interested in understanding the contribution of neuropeptides such as proopiomelanocortin, neurotensin, and corticotropin releasing factor to addiction, obesity, and age-related cognitive impairment, and in the development of therapeutics to treat these conditions. We use behavioral (operant conditioning), anatomical, pharmacological, and molecular approaches to address our research questions, often in combination with genetic mouse models. We are interested in the normal physiological role for these neuropeptides, as well as the adaptations that occur in this neurocircuitry under the conditions of obesity, food restriction, and chronic drug use. The long-term goals of our lab are to 1) elucidate the pharmacology and neurocircuitry involved in the regulation of appetite for and consumption of rewards (both food and drug), and 2) to determine the contribution of hypothalamic neuropeptides to age-related conditions such as obesity and cognitive decline.


Effect of obesity on proopiomelanocortin regulation of reward and feeding

Presbyterian Health Foundation

07/01/2018 - 06/30/2019

Effects of dietary restriction on age-related neurophysiological adaptations: From behavior to single dopaminergic neurons

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

05/01/2018 - 04/30/2021

Publications & Presentations

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    16. Sharpe A, Varela E, Bettinger L, Beckstead M J. Methamphetamine self-administration in mice decreases GIRK channel-mediated currents in midbrain dopamine neurons. The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology. 2014; 18

    17. Sharpe A, Calderon A S, Andrade M A, Cunningham J T, Mifflin S W, Toney G M. Chronic intermittent hypoxia increases sympathetic control of blood pressure: role of neuronal activity in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology. 2013; 305 : H1772-80

    18. Branch S Y, Goertz R B, Sharpe A, Pierce J, Roy S, Ko D, Paladini C A, Beckstead M J. Food restriction increases glutamate receptor-mediated burst firing of dopamine neurons. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2013; 33 : 13861-72

    19. Sharpe A, Andrade M A, Herrera-Rosales M, Britton S L, Koch L G, Toney G M. Rats selectively bred for differences in aerobic capacity have similar hypertensive responses to chronic intermittent hypoxia. American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology. 2013; 305 : H403-9

    20. Sharpe A, Klaus J D, Beckstead M J. Meal schedule influences food restriction-induced locomotor sensitization to methamphetamine. Psychopharmacology. 2012; 219 : 795-803

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    1. Role of estrogen receptor-alpha in aging and sex-specific responses to 17 alpha-estradiol. NIH. Start Date: 2021. End Date: 2026.

    2. Plasticity of GABA input to VTA dopamine neurons in opioid use disorders. Misc Federal. Start Date: 2021. End Date: 2025.

    3. The role of melanocortin-4 receptors on astrocytes in the hypothalamus on inflammaging, adiposity, and weight regulation. Non-federal. Start Date: 2023.

    4. Astrocytic melanocortin 4 receptors and their role in inflammation and obesity. Intramural Funding. Start Date: 2022. End Date: 2023.

    5. The role of proopiomelanocortin neurons in age-related cognitive decline. NIH. Start Date: 2019. End Date: 2022.

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Awards and Honors

                                                                                            1. . Harold Hamm Diabetes Center Travel Award. Date: 2019.  


                                                                                            1.  Degree: Post-doctoral fellowship. Oregon Health Sciences University. Date: 2008.  

                                                                                            2.  Degree: Ph D. Wake Forest University. Date: 2002.  

                                                                                            3.  Degree: B. Pharm. Ohio Northern University. Date: 1997.  

Administrative Assignments

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