Christopher C. Lapish, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

LD 126L
(317) 274-6931
Research Areas:
Behavioral & Addiction Neuroscience | Mathematical & Computational Neuroscience | Addiction Neuroscience


The broad goal of my research program is to understand the neural mechanisms that underlie cognitive dysfunction in neuropsychiatric disorders. More specifically, I am interested in determining how drugs of abuse alter the computational properties of the mesocorticolimbic system. My lab studies cognitive function in rodent models of addiction using in vivo electrophysiological recordings, targeted genetics, and computational modeling. The computational and experimental approaches employed in my lab allow us to assess the neural mechanisms that underlie decision making. Work in my lab has identified alterations in information processing in cortical systems that may predispose an individual to drink alcohol excessively. In addition, we have identified changes in neural activity that may reflect the loss of control over drinking in rodent models. I also teach/have taught courses in neuroscience, statistics, and computational neuroscience.

Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • William Barnett, PhD
  • Nicholas Timme PhD

Graduate Students:

  • Cherish Ardinger
  • Shiela Harshman
  • Colleen McGonigle
  • Mitchell Morningstar
  • Shelby White
  • Garrett Winkler

Undergraduate Researchers:

  • Taylor Galbari
  • Seth Weir

Dr. Lapish is accepting graduate student applications to his lab.


  • Research Associate Professor, Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 2008-2010
  • Postdoctoral, Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 2006-2008
  • Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina, 2002-2006, Neuroscience
  • B.S., Clemson University, Microbiology

Publications & Professional Activity

De Falco E, White SM, Morningstar MD, Ma B, Nkurunziza LT, Ahmed-Dilibe A, Wellman CL, Lapish CC. Impaired cognitive flexibility and heightened urgency are associated with increased alcohol consumption in rodent models of excessive drinking. Addict Biol. 2021 Jan 28:e13004. doi: 10.1111/adb.13004. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33508872.

McCane AM, Auterson CD, DeLory MJ, Lapish CC, Czachowski CL. Differential effects of quinine adulteration of alcohol on seeking and drinking. Alcohol. 2021 May;92:73-80. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2021.01.003. Epub 2021 Jan 16. PMID: 33465465; PMCID: PMC8026625.

Morningstar MD, Linsenbardt DN, Lapish CC. Ethanol Alters Variability, But Not Rate, of Firing in Medial Prefrontal Cortex Neurons of Awake-Behaving Rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2020 Nov;44(11):2225-2238. doi: 10.1111/acer.14463. Epub 2020 Oct 16. PMID: 32966634; PMCID: PMC7680402.

Ardinger CE, Grahame NJ, Lapish CC, Linsenbardt DN. High Alcohol-Preferring Mice Show Reaction to Loss of Ethanol Reward Following Repeated Binge Drinking. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2020 Sep;44(9):1717-1727. doi: 10.1111/acer.14419. Epub 2020 Aug 31. PMID: 32865852.

Morozova E, Faure P, Gutkin B, Lapish C, Kuznetsov A. Distinct Temporal Structure of Nicotinic ACh Receptor Activation Determines Responses of VTA Neurons to Endogenous ACh and Nicotine. eNeuro. 2020 Aug 31;7(4):ENEURO.0418-19.2020. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0418-19.2020. PMID: 32737187; PMCID: PMC7470928.

Linsenbardt DN, Timme NM, Lapish CC. Encoding of the Intent to Drink Alcohol by the Prefrontal Cortex Is Blunted in Rats with a Family History of Excessive Drinking. eNeuro. 2019 Aug 26;6(4):ENEURO.0489-18.2019. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0489-18.2019. PMID: 31358511; PMCID: PMC6712204.

McCane AM, Ahn S, Rubchinsky LL, Janetsian-Fritz SS, Linsenbardt DN, Czachowski CL, Lapish CC. COMT Inhibition Alters Cue-Evoked Oscillatory Dynamics during Alcohol Drinking in the Rat. eNeuro. 2018 Oct 31;5(5):ENEURO.0326-18.2018. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0326-18.2018. PMID: 30406194; PMCID: PMC6220588.

Timme NM, Lapish C. A Tutorial for Information Theory in Neuroscience. eNeuro. 2018 Sep 11;5(3):ENEURO.0052-18.2018. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0052-18.2018. PMID: 30211307; PMCID: PMC6131830.

Linsenbardt DN, Lapish CC. Neural Firing in the Prefrontal Cortex During Alcohol Intake in Alcohol-Preferring "P" Versus Wistar Rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2015 Aug 6. doi: 10.1111/acer.12804. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26250465.

Lapish CC, Balaguer-Ballester E, Seamans JK, Phillips AG, Durstewitz D. Amphetamine Exerts Dose-Dependent Changes in Prefrontal Cortex Attractor Dynamics during Working Memory. J Neurosci. 2015 Jul 15;35(28):10172-87. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2421-14.2015. PubMed PMID: 26180194; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4502258.

Janetsian SS, Linsenbardt DN, Lapish CC. Memory impairment and alterations in prefrontal cortex gamma band activity following methamphetamine sensitization. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Jun;232(12):2083-95. doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3840-7. Epub 2015 Jan 10. PubMed PMID: 25572530; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4433565.

Lapish CC, Ahn KC, Chambers RA, Ashby DM, Ahn S, Phillips AG. Selective effects of D- and L-govadine in preclinical tests of positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014 Jun;39(7):1754-62. doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.23. Epub 2014 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 24476944; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4023149.

Ahn S, Rubchinsky LL, Lapish CC. Dynamical reorganization of synchronous activity patterns in prefrontal cortex-hippocampus networks during behavioral sensitization. Cereb Cortex. 2014 Oct;24(10):2553-61. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht110. Epub 2013 May 3. PubMed PMID: 23645713.

Lapish CC, Belardetti F, Ashby DM, Ahn S, Butts KA, So K, Macrae CM, Hynd JJ, Miller JJ, Phillips AG. A preclinical assessment of d.l-govadine as a potential antipsychotic and cognitive enhancer. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2012 Nov;15(10):1441-55. doi: 10.1017/S146114571100157X. Epub 2011 Nov 10. PubMed PMID: 22071247.

Balaguer-Ballester E, Lapish CC, Seamans JK, Durstewitz D. Attracting dynamics of frontal cortex ensembles during memory-guided decision-making. PLoS Comput Biol. 2011 May;7(5):e1002057. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002057. Epub 2011 May 19. PubMed PMID: 21625577; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3098221.

Seamans JK, Lapish CC, Durstewitz D. Comparing the prefrontal cortex of rats and primates: insights from electrophysiology. Neurotox Res. 2008 Oct;14(2-3):249-62. doi: 10.1007/BF03033814. Review. PubMed PMID: 19073430.

Lapish CC, Durstewitz D, Chandler LJ, Seamans JK. Successful choice behavior is associated with distinct and coherent network states in anterior cingulate cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Aug 19;105(33):11963-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0804045105. Epub 2008 Aug 15. PubMed PMID: 18708525; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2516968.

Lapish CC, Kroener S, Durstewitz D, Lavin A, Seamans JK. The ability of the mesocortical dopamine system to operate in distinct temporal modes. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007 Apr;191(3):609-25. Epub 2006 Nov 4. Review. PubMed PMID: 17086392.

Lapish CC, Seamans JK, Chandler LJ. Glutamate-dopamine cotransmission and reward processing in addiction. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006 Sep;30(9):1451-65. PubMed PMID: 16930207.

For a full list of Dr. Lapish's publications: