Steven Graves

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


Steven Graves is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and a member of the Medical Discovery Team on Addiction. Dr. Graves received his B.Sc. degree from the University of Michigan in Biopsychology & Cognitive Sciences and Ph.D. degree from Rush University Medical Center in the Department of Pharmacology. His postdoctoral training was in the laboratory of Dr. D. James Surmeier at Northwestern University in the Department of Physiology. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota in 2018, Dr. Graves was a research assistant professor at Northwestern University in the Department of Physiology.

Research Summary

Research in the Graves lab is focused on investigating mechanisms of neurodegeneration with an emphasis on examining the effects of drugs of abuse, such as methamphetamine or alcohol, on monoaminergic neurons. Neurotoxic effects of methamphetamine or alcohol may increase the risk for developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and/or Alzheimer’s disease; by identifying and understanding mechanisms by which these drugs of abuse cause degeneration or increase vulnerability of neurons we hope to identify neuroprotective strategies to mitigate the deleterious outcomes. In addition to our neurodegenerative studies, we are investigating the neurobiology of substance use disorders to better understand circuitry and maladaptive plasticity that contributes to drug-seeking behaviors. Projects in my lab use state-of-the-art techniques including patch clamp electrophysiology, two-photon laser scanning microscopy, genetically encoded biosensors, optogenetics, chemogenetics, stereological analyses, and behavioral pharmacology.




3-106 Nils Hasselmo Hall
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0215