Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
Senior Lecturer

Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens

Science
School of Psychology

Dr Kelly Clemens is a UNSW Scientia Fellow in the School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, UNSW. 

Research Areas

I am interested in why it is so hard to stop taking addictive drugs. Despite knowing that drugs are bad, many people continue their use - they find it extremely difficult to cut down or stop, despite significant health or social consequences.

So what is it about drugs that makes quitting so hard? My research focuses on the changes that occur in the brain following drug use and what the implications are for quitting. We find that what is learned under the influence of drugs of addiction is different. That is, people, places and paraphernalia present when drugs are ingested, take on an exaggerated meaning to the drug user. These cues can maintain drug seeking in the absence of the drug itself, or lead to strong cravings and ultimately relapse.

My research has shown that not only are drugs present at the same time as these cues, but that many drugs of abuse are actually changing the way the brain learns about these cues. Through interacting with DNA itself, many drugs 'switch on' genes that are important for learning. When the user is learning about what predicts or accompanies drug use, this information is stored so much more robustly than normal. Unraveling the epigenetic nature of the interactions between our genes and how they react to drugs of abuse is the current focus of research in my laboratory. 

Affiliations and Membership

  • Biological Psychiatry Australia (BPA)
  • Asia-Pacific Society for Alcohol and Addiction Research (APSAAR)
  • International Society for Drug Abuse Research (IDARS)
  • Australian Neuroscience Society (ANS)
  • Australian Learning Group (ALG)

Awards, Fellowships

  • UNSW Scientia Fellowship (2018-current)
  • Faculty of Science Research Grant (2013, 2017, 2018)
  • Faculty of Science Visiting Academic Fellowship (2013) Prof. Serge Ahmed
  • Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) (2012-2015)
  • Macquarie University Research Fellowship (2010-2012)

 

Phone
02 9385 8250

Publications

  • Book Chapters | 2019
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Khoo SY-S; McNally GP; Clemens KJ, 2019, 'Chapter 61 The Orexin System and Nicotine Addiction: Preclinical Insights', in Neuroscience of Nicotine, pp. 509 - 517, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-813035-3.00061-7
    Book Chapters | 2019
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Khoo S; McNally G; Clemens K, 2019, 'The orexin system and nicotine addiction: Preclinical insights', in Preedy VR (ed.), Neuroscience of Nicotine: Mechanisms and treatment, Academic Press, pp. 509 - 517, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-813035-3.00061-7
    Book Chapters | 2013
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    McKetin R; Kaye SS; Clemens KJ; Hermens D, 2013, 'Chapter 70 Methamphetamine Addiction', in Principles of Addiction, pp. 689 - 698, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-398336-7.00070-x
    Book Chapters | 2013
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    McKetin R; Clemens KJ; Kaye SS, 2013, ', Methamphetamine addiction', in Miller PM (ed.), Principles of Addiction, Academic Press
    Book Chapters | 2013
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    McKetin R; Kaye SS; Clemens KJ; Hermens D, 2013, 'Methamphetamine addiction', in Miller PM (ed.), Principles of addiction: comprehensive addictive behaviors and disorders, Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 689 - 698, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-398336-7.00070-X
    Book Chapters | 2012
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Caille S; Clemens K; Stinus L; Cador M, 2012, 'Modeling nicotine addiction in rats', in Methods in Molecular Biology, pp. 243 - 256, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-61779-458-2_15
  • Journal articles | 2021
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Mastrogiovanni NA; Wheeler AK; Clemens KJ, 2021, 'Social isolation enhances cued-reinstatement of sucrose and nicotine seeking, but this is reversed by a return to social housing', Scientific Reports, vol. 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-81966-2
    Journal articles | 2020
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Finney CA; Proschogo NW; Snepvangers A; Holmes NM; Westbrook RF; Clemens KJ, 2020, 'The effect of standard laboratory diets on estrogen signaling and spatial memory in male and female rats', Physiology and Behavior, vol. 215, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.112787
    Journal articles | 2019
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Kyme AZ; Angelis GI; Eisenhuth J; Fulton RR; Zhou V; Hart G; Popovic K; Akhtar M; Ryder WJ; Clemens KJ; Balleine BW; Parmar A; Pascali G; Perkins G; Meikle SR, 2019, 'Open-field PET: Simultaneous brain functional imaging and behavioural response measurements in freely moving small animals', NeuroImage, vol. 188, pp. 92 - 101, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.11.051
    Journal articles | 2019
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Holmes NM; Pan J; Davis A; Panayi MC; Clemens KJ, 2019, 'Rats choose high doses of nicotine in order to compensate for changes in its price and availability', Addiction Biology, vol. 24, pp. 849 - 859, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/adb.12637
    Journal articles | 2019
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Stuart A; Ferguson SG, 2019, 'Pre-quit nicotine decreases nicotine self-administration and attenuates cue- and drug-induced reinstatement', Journal of Psychopharmacology, vol. 33, pp. 364 - 371, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881118822074
    Journal articles | 2018
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Khoo SYS; Clemens KJ; McNally GP, 2018, 'Palatable food self-administration and reinstatement are not affected by dual orexin receptor antagonism', Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, vol. 87, pp. 147 - 157, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.06.028
    Journal articles | 2018
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Holmes NM, 2018, 'An extended history of drug self-administration results in multiple sources of control over drug seeking behavior', Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, vol. 87, pp. 48 - 55, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.11.011
    Journal articles | 2018
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Castino MR; Baker-Andresen D; Ratnu VS; Shevchenko G; Morris KV; Bredy TW; Youngson NA; Clemens KJ, 2018, 'Persistent histone modifications at the BDNF and Cdk-5 promoters following extinction of nicotine-seeking in rats', Genes, Brain and Behavior, vol. 17, pp. 98 - 106, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gbb.12421
    Journal articles | 2017
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Khoo SY; McNally GP; Clemens KJ, 2017, 'The dual orexin receptor antagonist TCS1102 does not affect reinstatement of nicotine-seeking', PLoS One, vol. 12, pp. e0173967 - e0173967, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0173967
    Journal articles | 2017
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Huynh C; Fam J; Ahmed SH; Clemens KJ, 2017, 'Rats quit nicotine for a sweet reward following an extensive history of nicotine use', Addiction Biology, vol. 22, pp. 142 - 151, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/adb.12306
    Journal articles | 2017
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Lay BPP; Holmes NM, 2017, 'Extended nicotine self-administration increases sensitivity to nicotine, motivation to seek nicotine and the reinforcing properties of nicotine-paired cues.', Addiction Biology, vol. 22, pp. 400 - 410, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/adb.12336
    Journal articles | 2016
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Sharpe MJ; Clemens KJ; Morris MJ; Westbrook RF, 2016, 'Daily Exposure to Sucrose Impairs Subsequent Learning About Food Cues: A Role for Alterations in Ghrelin Signaling and Dopamine D2 Receptors', Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 41, pp. 1357 - 1365, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2015.287
    Journal articles | 2016
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Macnamara CL; Holmes NM; Westbrook RF; Clemens KJ, 2016, 'Varenicline impairs extinction and enhances reinstatement across repeated cycles of nicotine self-administration in rats', Neuropharmacology, vol. 105, pp. 463 - 470, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2016.02.023
    Journal articles | 2015
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Castino MR; Cornish JL; Clemens KJ, 2015, 'Inhibition of histone deacetylases facilitates extinction and attenuates reinstatement of nicotine self-administration in rats', PLoS ONE, vol. 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0124796
    Journal articles | 2014
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Castino MR; Cornish JL; Goodchild AK; Holmes NM, 2014, 'Behavioral and Neural Substrates of Habit Formation in Rats Intravenously Self-Administering Nicotine', Neuropsychopharmacology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2014.111
    Journal articles | 2014
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Castino MR; Cornish JL; Goodchild AK; Holmes NM, 2014, 'Behavioral and Neural Substrates of Habit Formation in Rats Intravenously Self-Administering Nicotine', Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 39, pp. 2584 - 2593, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2014.111
    Journal articles | 2013
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Motbey CP; Clemens KJ; Apetz N; Winstock AR; Ramsey J; Li KM; Wyatt N; Callaghan PD; Bowen MT; Cornish JL; McGregor IS, 2013, 'High levels of intravenous mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) self-administration in rats: Neural consequences and comparison with methamphetamine', Journal of Psychopharmacology, vol. 27, pp. 823 - 836, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881113490325
    Journal articles | 2013
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Castino M; Cornish J; Goodchild A; Clemens K, 2013, 'THE ROLE OF HISTONE ACETYLATION IN THE ACQUISITION, EXTINCTION AND REINSTATEMENT OF NICOTINE SELF-ADMINISTRATION IN RATS', BEHAVIOURAL PHARMACOLOGY, vol. 24, pp. E50 - E50, http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.fbp.0000434849.25290.97
    Journal articles | 2012
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Pardey MC; Kumar NN; Goodchild AK; Clemens KJ; Homewood J; Cornish JL, 2012, 'Long-term effects of chronic oral ritalin administration on cognitive and neural development in adolescent Wistar Kyoto rats', Brain Sciences, vol. 2, pp. 375 - 404, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/brainsci2030375
    Journal articles | 2011
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Holmes N; Clemens KJ, 2011, 'Multiple interpretations of cocaine-seeking behaviour after prolonged self-administration training.', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 31, pp. 3935 - 3936, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6354-10.2011
    Journal articles | 2010
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Vendruscolo LF; Gueye AB; Vendruscolo JCM; Clemens KJ; Mormède P; Darnaudéry M; Cador M, 2010, 'Reduced alcohol drinking in adult rats exposed to sucrose during adolescence', Neuropharmacology, vol. 59, pp. 388 - 394, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2010.05.015
    Journal articles | 2010
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Caillé S; Cador M, 2010, 'The effects of response operandum and prior food training on intravenous Nicotine self-administration in rats', Psychopharmacology, vol. 211, pp. 43 - 54, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-010-1866-z
    Journal articles | 2009
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Hamlin AS; Mcnally GP; Choi EA; Clemens KJ, 2009, 'Paraventricular thalamus mediates context-induced reinstatement (renewal) of extinguished reward seeking', European Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 29, pp. 802 - 812, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06623.x
    Journal articles | 2009
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Caillé S; Stinus L; Cador M, 2009, 'The addition of five minor tobacco alkaloids increases nicotine-induced hyperactivity, sensitization and intravenous self-administration in rats', International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 12, pp. 1355 - 1366, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1461145709000273
    Journal articles | 2008
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Hamlin AS; Clemens KJ; Mcnally GP, 2008, 'Renewal of extinguished cocaine-seeking', Neuroscience, vol. 151, pp. 659 - 670, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.11.018
    Journal articles | 2008
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Cornish JL; Clemens KJ; Thompson MR; Callaghan PD; Dawson B; McGregor IS, 2008, 'High ambient temperature increases intravenous methamphetamine self-administration on fixed and progressive ratio schedules in rats', Journal of Psychopharmacology, vol. 22, pp. 100 - 110, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881107082286
    Journal articles | 2008
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Vendruscolo LF, 2008, 'Anxious to drink: Gabapentin normalizes GABAergic transmission in the central amygdala and reduces symptoms of ethanol dependence', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 28, pp. 9087 - 9089, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2928-08.2008
    Journal articles | 2007
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Cornish JL; Hunt GE; McGregor IS, 2007, 'Repeated weekly exposure to MDMA, methamphetamine or their combination: Long-term behavioural and neurochemical effects in rats', Drug and Alcohol Dependence, vol. 86, pp. 183 - 190, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2006.06.004
    Journal articles | 2007
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; McGregor IS; Hunt GE; Cornish JL, 2007, 'MDMA, methamphetamine and their combination: Possible lessons for party drug users from recent preclinical research', Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 26, pp. 9 - 15, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09595230601036945
    Journal articles | 2006
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Cornish JL; Hunt GE; McGregor IS, 2006, 'Intravenous methamphetamine self-administration in rats: Effects of intravenous or intraperitoneal MDMA co-administration', Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 85, pp. 454 - 463, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2006.09.015
    Journal articles | 2005
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Cornish JL; Li KM; Hunt GE; McGregor IS, 2005, 'MDMA ('Ecstasy') and methamphetamine combined: Order of administration influences hyperthermic and long-term adverse effects in female rats', Neuropharmacology, vol. 49, pp. 195 - 207, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2005.03.002
    Journal articles | 2005
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Cornish JL; Lontos JM; Clemens KJ; McGregor IS, 2005, 'Cocaine and heroin ('speedball') self-administration: The involvement of nucleus accumbens dopamine and μ-opiate, but not δ-opiate receptors', Psychopharmacology, vol. 180, pp. 21 - 32, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-004-2135-9
    Journal articles | 2005
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    McGregor I; Clemens K; Cornish J; Thompson M; Li K; Hunt G, 2005, 'MDMA, methamphetamine and their combination: Comparison of long-term behavioural and neural effects in rats', BEHAVIOURAL PHARMACOLOGY, vol. 16, pp. S11 - S11, http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00008877-200509001-00033
    Journal articles | 2004
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Thompson MR; Li KN; Clemens KJ; Gurtman CG; Hunt GE; Cornish JL; McGregor IS, 2004, 'Chronic fluoxetine treatment partly attenuates the long-term anxiety and depressive symptoms induced by MDMA ('Ecstasy') in rats', Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 29, pp. 694 - 704, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.npp.1300347
    Journal articles | 2004
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens KJ; Van Nieuwenhuyzen PS; Li KM; Cornish JL; Hunt GE; McGregor IS, 2004, 'MDMA ("ecstacy"), methamphetamine and their combination: Long-term changes in social interaction and neurochemistry in the rat', Psychopharmacology, vol. 173, pp. 318 - 325, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-004-1786-x
    Journal articles | 2003
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    McGregor IS; Clemens KJ; Van Der Plasse G; Li KM; Hunt GE; Chen F; Lawrence AJ, 2003, 'Increased anxiety 3 months after brief exposure to MDMA ('Ecstasy') in rats: Association with altered 5-HT transporter and receptor density', Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 28, pp. 1472 - 1484, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.npp.1300185
    Journal articles | 2003
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    McGregor IS; Gurtman CG; Morley KC; Clemens KJ; Blokland A; Li KM; Cornish JL; Hunt GE, 2003, 'Increased anxiety and "depressive" symptoms months after MDMA ("ecstasy") in rats: Drug-induced hyperthermia does not predict long-term outcomes', Psychopharmacology, vol. 168, pp. 465 - 474, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-003-1452-8
  • Working Papers | 2019
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Youngson N; Castino M; Stuart A; Kershaw K; Holmes N; Waters P; Morris K; Clemens K, 2019, A natural antisense to brain-derived neurotrophic factor impairs extinction of drug seeking, http://dx.doi.org10.1101/851949
    Conference Abstracts | 2015
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Castino M; Youngson N; Baker-Andresen D; Ratnu V; Bredy T; Clemens K, 2015, 'Transcriptional and epigenetic factors underlying the extinction of nicotine-seeking behaviour in the rat', in JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY, WILEY-BLACKWELL, Cairns, AUSTRALIA, Vol. 134, pp. 349 - 349, presented at 25th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific-Society-for-Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian-Neuroscience-Society, Cairns, AUSTRALIA, 23 August 2015 - 27 August 2015, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000360206300896&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Abstracts | 2015
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Clemens K; Lay B; Holmes N, 2015, 'The effect of the partial receptor agonist varenicline on responding maintained by nicotine-associated cues', in JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY, WILEY-BLACKWELL, Cairns, AUSTRALIA, Vol. 134, pp. 349 - 350, presented at 25th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific-Society-for-Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian-Neuroscience-Society, Cairns, AUSTRALIA, 23 August 2015 - 27 August 2015, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000360206300899&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Abstracts | 2015
    Dr Kelly Joanne Clemens
    Khoo SY; McNally GP; Clemens KJ, 2015, 'effect of the dual orexin receptor antagonist TCS1102 on intravenous nicotine self-administration and reinstatement in the rat', in JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY, WILEY-BLACKWELL, Cairns, AUSTRALIA, Vol. 134, pp. 215 - 215, presented at 25th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific-Society-for-Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian-Neuroscience-Society, Cairns, AUSTRALIA, 23 August 2015 - 27 August 2015, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000360206300525&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1

Awards

Grants

NHMRC Ideas Grant (2020-2022) Clemens K, Waters P

ARC Discovery Project (2020-2022) Clemens K

Media