Scott Steffensen, Professor

Department: Psychology



Office: 1050 KMBL

Phone: 801-422-9499



Born in Inglewood, CA. Married with 4 children.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the neurobiology of addiction. I utilize electrophysiological, neurochemical, and behavioral approaches to study neuroadaptations in brain substrates during alcohol and nicotine dependence and codependence. My research has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the past thirty years. My lab is currently staffed by a postdoctoral fellow, three graduate students, and thirty-five undergraduate students. I am grateful for internal support from BYU as well as the amazing students under my purview.


  • Fellow from Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, 2016

Recent Publications

  • Wood, R. L., Karlinsey, K. S., Thompson, A. D., Rigby, M. N., Boatright, G. D., Pitt, W., Cook, A. (2018). Baseline effects of lysophosphatidylcholine and nerve growth factor in a rat model of sciatic nerve regeneration after crush injury. Neural Regeneration Research, 13(5), 846-853.
  • Cook, A., Karlinsey, K., Thompson, A., Wood, R., Rigby, M., Coffin, S., Roeder, B. (2017). Nerve Regeneration Using Lysophosphatidylcholine and Multiple Treatments of Nerve Growth Factor. Tissue Engineering, 23(S1), S-37.
  • Wood, R. L., Pitt, W., Steffensen, S., & Cook, A. (2016). A comparison of lysophosphatidylcholine and crush injury in a rat model of sciatic nerve regeneration. Adv Tissue Eng Regen Med Open Access, 1(2), 00008.
  • Larson, M., Clayson, P. E., Primosch, M., Leyton, M., & Steffensen, S. (2015). The effects of acute dopamine precursor depletion on the cognitive control functions of performance monitoring and conflict processing: An event-related potential (ERP) study.. PLOS One, 10(10), e0140770 (pages 1 to 20).
  • Steffensen, S. (2012). Functional a7b2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors expressed in hippocampal interneurons exhibit high sensitivity to pathological level of amyloid B peptides. BMC Neuroscience, 13(1), 155 (Epub ahead of print).
  • Steffensen, S. (2012). Impact of Prefrontal Cortex in Nicotine-Induced Excitation of Ventral Tegmental Area Dopamine Neurons in Anesthetized Rats. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(36), 12366-12375.
  • Steffensen, S. (2012). A Novel, Metabolically-Labile Sedative/Hypnotic Agent with Rapid and Predictable Emergence from Hypnosis. Anesthesiology, 116(6), 1267-1277.
  • Steffensen, S. (2012). Effects of acupuncture on stress-induced relapse to cocaine-seeking in rats. Psychopharmacology, 222(2), 303-311.
  • Allison, D. W., Wilcox, R. S., Ellefsen, K. L., Askew, C. E., Hansen, D. M., Wilcox, J. D., Steffensen, S. (2011). Mefloquine effects on ventral tegmental area dopamine and GABA neuron inhibition: A physiologic role for connexin-36 gap junctions. Synapse, ePub ahead of print.
  • Steffensen, S., Bradley, K., Hansen, D. M., Wilcox, J. D., Wilcox, R. S., Allison, D. W., Edwards, J. (2010). The role of connexin-36 gap junctions in alcohol intoxication and consumption. Synapse, 65(8), 695-707.
  • Yang, C., Yoon, S., Hansen, D. M., Wilcox, J. D., Blumell, B. R., Park, J., & Steffensen, S. (2010). Acupuncture inhibits GABA neuron activity in the ventral tegmental area and reduces ethanol self-administration. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research, 34(12), 1-10.
  • Vargas-Perez, H., Kee, R. T., Walton, C. H., Hansen, D., Razavi, R., Clarke, L., van der Kooy, D. (2009). Ventral tegmental area BDNF induces an opiate-dependent-like reward state in naive Rats.. Science, 324, 1732-4.
  • Steffensen, S., Walton, C. H., Hansen, D., Yorgason, J. T., Gallegos, R. A., & Criado, J. R. (2009). Contingent and non-contingent effects of low-dose ethanol on GABA neuron activity in the ventral tegmental area.. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 92, 68-75.