James Rowlett, Ph.D., is a professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Rowlett’s research program studies the mechanisms underlying drug abuse and dependence, particularly sedative-anxiolytic and stimulant addiction; and cognitive processes as a consequence of aging and metabolic function. The lab studies the pharmacological basis of drug abuse and cognitive processes using in vivo techniques, including self-administration and complex behavior controlled by touch-screen technology. A key component of the research program is a focus on translational drug discovery, with a long-standing goal of providing important information for discovery and development of anti-addiction, anxiolytic, sleep-aid and cognitive-enhancing medications.
Rowlett is currently the principal investigator for two National Institutes of Health R01 grants: one examining anxiolytic effects and abuse of benzodiazepine receptor ligands, and another to study tolerance and physical dependence after chronic benzodiazepine treatment.
In 2018, Rowlett was recognized with the UM Medical Center’s Platinum Medallion for excellence in research, granted to faculty who obtain $5 million in extramural research funding.
Rowlett holds a secondary appointment in the UM Medical Center’s Department of Neurobiology and Anatomical Sciences and advises students in the Ph.D. in Neuroscience program. He also is a member of the Neuro Institute, an initiative to integrate high-quality health care, groundbreaking research and innovative educational programs within the field of neuroscience.
Rowlett earned his B.S. in psychology at Morehead State University and Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Kentucky. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the UM Medical Center and then joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School. Rowlett returned to the UM Medical Center as a full professor in 2013.