First Advisor

Radhika Reddy

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology and University Honors






Genetic polymorphisms, Opioid abuse, Neural receptors, Oxycodone, Drug abuse -- Research




Drug overdose epidemic has worsened dramatically in the past 10 years. Opioid use disorder (OUD) is one of the biggest contributors to this rise. OUD has been a national public health and socioeconomic crisis. In 2017, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 47,600 opioid overdose deaths in the US alone. This amounts to 68% of all deaths due to drug overdose. Currently, 2.1 million Americans are suffering from OUD. The economic burden due to opioid misuse treatment was 171.7 billion US dollars in the year 2009 in the U.S. The projected cost in 2020 will be 280.5 billion US dollars. In the last two decades, with the precipitous increase (400%) in opioid prescription as painkiller, death due to opioid misuse has also doubled. This necessitates an urgent need to develop alternative non-addictive drugs to treat chronic pain and also ways to minimize opioid use and misuse. Of several factors (intrinsic and extrinsic) influencing opioid addiction, genetic polymorphism plays a significant role in determining opioid addiction. Therefore, a better understanding of the genetic polymorphisms involved in opioid addiction will open up new avenues of opioid reversal treatments. In this study, having oxycodone as the representative drug of opioid category and locomotor behavior as the response attribute in a mice model, we looked at the expression level of 7 high priority candidate genes and identified 3 of them as target genes as their expression significantly increased on oxycodone administration and also induced locomotory behavior.


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