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Department of Psychological Sciences

Stephen Kiefer

kieferContact Information

E-mail: swkiefer@ksu.edu

Dr. Stephen Kiefer has retired and taken the rank of Professor Emeritus.  Over the previous 35 years at Kansas State University, his research program focused on the taste attributes of alcohol and how those affected intake in a rodent model.  Using various techniques and models, including behavioral genetics, pharmacological treatments, and brain manipulations, insight to the factors governing alcohol intake in both normal use and abuse have been examined.

Research Interests

Our laboratory was focused on alcohol using rodent models (rats and mice). Specifically, we were interested in the taste of alcohol as we believed that taste was an important factor in determining ultimate use (and abuse) of this drug. Given that alcohol is normally only introduced to the body through oral consumption, taste would occupy a pivotal role in decisions about accepting or rejecting this substance. The most recent project examined the role of the opiate system in modulating the taste of alcohol. We have shown conclusively that antagonism of the opiate system via a drug (naltrexone) renders the taste of alcohol solutions more aversive - rats find the taste to be relatively unpalatable. Additionally, naltrexone decreases alcohol consumption during restricted access tests. Obviously, a drug that can make alcohol taste bad has the potential as a deterrent for alcohol consumption.

Representative Publications/Presentations

Deehan, G.A. Jr., Cain, M.E., & Kiefer, S.W.  (2008).  Differential rearing conditions alter operant responding for ethanol in outbred rats.  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31, 1692-1698. 

Hill, K.G., Sable, H.J.K., Ferraro, F.M. III, & Kiefer, S.W.  (2010).  Chronic naltrexone treatment and ethanol responsivity in outbred rats.   Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 34, 272-279.

Higley, A.E, Spiller, K., Grundt, P., Newman, A.H., Kiefer, S.W., Xi, Z.-X., & Gardner, E.L. (2011).   PG01037, a novel dopamine D3 receptor antagonist, inhibits the effects of methamphetamine in rats.  Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25, 263-273.

Deehan, G.A.., Palmatier, M.I., Cain, M.E., & Kiefer, S.W.  (2011).  Differential rearing conditions and alcohol preferring rats: Consumption of and operant responding for ethanol.  Behavioral Neuroscience, 125, 184-193.

Higley, A.E., Kiefer, S.W., Li, X., Gaal, J., Xi, Z.-X., & Gardner, E.L. (2011). Dopamine D3 receptor antagonist SB-277011A inhibits methamphetamine self-administration and methamphetamine-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking in rats. European Journal of Pharmacology, 659, 187-192.

Wukitsch, T.J., Reinhardt, E.K., Kiefer, S.W., & Cain, M.E. (2019). Voluntary ethanol consumption during early social isolation and responding for ethanol in adulthood. Alcohol, 77, 1-10.

Wukitsch, T.J., Brase, E.C., Moser, T.J., Kiefer, S.W., & Cain, M.E. (2019). Differential rearing alters taste reactivity to ethanol, sucrose, and quinine. Psychopharmacology, 237, 583-587.

Wukitsch, T.J., Moser, T.J., Brase, E.C., Kiefer, S.W., & Cain, M.E.  (2020). Adolescent ethanol exposure and differential rearing environment affect taste reactivity to ethanol in rats. Alcohol, 89, 113-122.

Personal Information

My wife, Nancy, and I met in college at Washington University in St. Louis and have been married since 1973. We lived in Tempe, AZ and Los Angeles, CA before moving to Manhattan in 1982. We currently reside in Evergreen, CO, which is in the front range of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. We have two sons: Zachary received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University in Finance, Legal Studies in Business, and Spanish and his graduate degree from The London School of Economics and Political Science. He currently lives in London, England. Brian graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Anthropology. He currently lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and teaches English as a second language to children and adults. I spend my free time fishing, reading, and traveling to visit friends and family around the world.