Sade Spencer

Assistant Professor
Faculty, MS and PhD Programs in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics (MPaT)
Faculty, Graduate Program in Neuroscience (GPN)


Sade Spencer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology. Dr. Spencer received her B.S. degree from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa in Biology in 2006. She received her Ph.D. degree in the Neuroscience Graduate Program from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in the laboratory of Dr. Colleen A. McClung. Her postdoctoral training was in the laboratory of Dr. Peter W. Kalivas at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Spencer was recruited to the University of Minnesota as part of the Medical Discovery Team on Addiction.

Research Summary

Research in the Spencer Lab focuses on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying reward and related to the development of substance use disorders. Because substance use disorders are highly comorbid with other neuropsychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression, the Spencer lab also examines the overlapping and distinct substrates of these diseases. We combine behavioral analysis in preclinical rodent models with molecular, pharmacological, and genetic tools. Current projects center on the effects of the psychostimulant cocaine and synthetic and phytocannabinoids. It is our hope that a better understanding of the trajectory of the neuroplasticity, physiology, and neurochemistry that underlie these behaviors will help guide the rational design or discovery of new, more effective treatments.




3-212 Lions Research Building/McGuire Translational Research Facility
2001 6th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455