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Dr Kevin Butler


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Lecturer in Psychology

I started as Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sunderland in 2021. I am also an Affiliate Scientist within the Translational Addiction Research Laboratory at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, an Associate Member of Fuse: The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, and a Member of the North East and North Cumbria Applied Research Collaboration (NENC ARC).

Before joining Sunderland, I completed an undergraduate Masters degree in Pharmacology at the University of Bath, followed by a postgraduate certificate in Research Methods and a PhD in Addiction Research/Experimental Psychology at the University of Brighton (in collaboration with the University of Sussex). Using tobacco smoking as a model addictive behaviour, my PhD research examined whether impaired processing of negative consequences (i.e. reduced punishment sensitivity and post-error slowing) is a feature of substance use disorder, and was supervised by Dr Anne Jackson, Prof. Paul Gard (Brighton) and Prof. Jennifer Rusted (Sussex).

I have research experience in laboratory and clinical settings having worked as a Research Assistant in psychopharmacology clinical trials (University of Surrey) and as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in psychology (University of Lincoln) and in addiction at the Translational Addiction Research Laboratory (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto). At Lincoln, I worked with Dr Kyla Pennington on projects investigating the impact of early life stress on cognitive (executive function) and physiological (cortisol awakening response) outcomes relevant to the development of mental health disorders. More recently in Toronto, I worked with Dr Bernard Le Foll on several pre-clinical (e.g. behavioural genetic, brain imaging) and clinical (randomized controlled trials) projects in populations with substance use disorders.

I am an experimental psychologist and a behavioural scientist, my research interests are in the causes and consequences of substance use disorders, biopsychosocial predictors of drug use and successful long-term abstinence, behavioural and cognitive endophenotypes of addiction (such as executive dysfunction and impulsivity), the evaluation of interventions to reduce drug use, and the integration and translation of laboratory-based research into real-life settings in order to improve addiction-related outcomes. My research has tended to focus on tobacco use but could be applied to cannabis and alcohol use. I also have developing interests in behavioural addictions such as gambling and gaming, substance use co-morbidities, and over-eating.



Teaching and supervision

I contribute to teaching across a range of modules including:
PSY140 – Being a Psychologist
PSY141 – Introduction to Mental Health
PSY378 – Psychology of Addiction

In addition, I am a Personal Academic Tutor, I supervise research projects at undergraduate (PSY332 – Empirical Project) and postgraduate (PSYM70 – Research Project) levels and I can also provide supervision for research placements within the School (PSY377 – Professional Placement and PSY388 – Psychology Placement).

Office Hour
My Office Hour is Monday 4-5pm (on Teams). Please follow the link below. If you are not admitted straight away, because I am speaking with someone else, please wait and I'll let you in as soon as I'm free.
Click here to join the meeting
(Alternatively, email me for an appointment)

Research supervision
I supervise research projects and placements at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. I can also be approached to discuss doctoral research supervision.

Research interests for potential research students

I welcome enquiries from students with ideas for research projects that fit within my areas of research interest and expertise. Please contact me to discuss specific opportunities further. 

Research

I am an experimental psychologist and a behavioural scientist, my research interests are in the causes and consequences of substance use disorders, biopsychosocial predictors of drug use and successful long-term abstinence, behavioural and cognitive endophenotypes of addiction (such as executive dysfunction and impulsivity), the evaluation of interventions to reduce drug use, and the integration and translation of laboratory-based research into real-life settings in order to improve addiction-related outcomes. My research has tended to focus on tobacco use but could be applied to cannabis and alcohol use. I also have developing interests in behavioural addictions such as gambling and gaming, substance use co-morbidities, and over-eating. 

Publications

Number of items: 26.

Article

Butler, Kevin, Chenoweth, M, El-Boraie, A, Giratallah, H, Kowalczyk, W, Heishman, S, Tyndale, RF and Le Foll, B (2021) Impact of CYP2A6 Activity on Nicotine Reinforcement and Cue Reactivity in Daily Smokers. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 23 (10). pp. 1735-1743. ISSN 1469-994X

Butler, Kevin, Forget, B, Heishman, S and Le Foll, B (2021) Significant association of nicotine reinforcement and cue reactivity: a translational study in humans and rats. Behavioural Pharmacology, 32 (2&3). pp. 212-219. ISSN 0955-8810

Pennington, Kyla, Klaus, Kristel, Fachim, Helene A, Butler, Kevin, Trischel, Ksenia, Dalton, Caroline F, Heald, Adrian and Reynolds, Gavin P (2020) CACNA1C methylation: association with cortisol, perceived stress, rs1006737 and childhood trauma in males. Epigenomics, 12 (19). pp. 1739-1749. ISSN 1750-1911

Butler, Kevin and Le Foll, B (2020) Novel therapeutic and drug development strategies for tobacco use disorder: endocannabinoid modulation. Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery, 15 (9). pp. 1065-1080. ISSN 1746-045X

Clark, Laura, Butler, Kevin, Ritchie, Kay L. and Maréchal, Laëtitia (2020) The importance of first impression judgements in interspecies interactions. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

Sharman, Steve, Butler, Kevin and Roberts, Amanda (2019) Psychosocial risk factors in disordered gambling: A descriptive systematic overview of vulnerable populations. Addictive Behaviors, 99. p. 106071. ISSN 0306-4603

Klaus, Kristel, Butler, Kevin, Curtis, Ffion, Bridle, Chris and Pennington, Kyla (2019) The effect of ANKK1 Taq1A and DRD2 C957T polymorphisms on executive function: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 100. pp. 224-236. ISSN 0149-7634

Butler, Kevin and Le Foll, Bernard (2019) Impact of Substance Use Disorder Pharmacotherapy on Executive Function: A Narrative Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10. ISSN 1664-0640

Klaus, K., Butler, Kevin, Gutierrez, H., Durrant, S.J. and Pennington, K. (2018) Interactive effects of early life stress and CACNA1C genotype on cortisol awakening response. Biological Psychology, 136. pp. 22-28. ISSN 0301-0511

Butler, Kevin, Klaus, Kristel, Edwards, Laura and Pennington, Kyla (2017) Elevated cortisol awakening response associated with early life stress and impaired executive function in healthy adult males. Hormones and Behavior, 95. pp. 13-21. ISSN 0018-506X

Butler, Kevin, Rusted, Jennifer, Gard, Paul and Jackson, Anne (2017) Performance monitoring in nicotine dependence: Considering integration of recent reinforcement history. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 156. pp. 63-70. ISSN 0091-3057

Klaus, Kristel, Butler, Kevin, Durrant, Simon J., Ali, Manir, Inglehearn, Chris F., Hodgson, Timothy L., Gutierrez, Humberto and Pennington, Kyla (2017) The effect of COMT Val158Met and DRD2 C957T polymorphisms on executive function and the impact of early life stress. Brain and Behavior, 7 (5). e00695. ISSN 2162-3279

Book Section

Trick, Leanne, Butler, Kevin, Chukwueke, Chidera, Di Ciano, Patricia, Ibrahim, Christine, Rubin-Kahana, Dafna Sara, Boileau, Isabelle and Le Foll, Bernard (2020) Abnormalities of Neurotransmission in Drug Addiction. In: PET and SPECT in Psychiatry. Springer, pp. 653-712. ISBN 9783030572303

Conference or Workshop Item

Butler, Kevin, Chenoweth, M, El-Boraie, A, Kowalczyk, W, Heishman, S, Tyndale, RF and Le Foll, B (2021) Association of CYP2A6 activity and nicotine reinforcement in daily smokers. In: 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 24-27 Feb 2021, Online.

Klaus, K, Trischel, K, Fachim, H, Butler, Kevin, Dalton, CF, Reynolds, GP and Heald, A (2019) The effect of CACNA1C rs1006737 on CACNA1C methylation levels and association with morning cortisol release and perceived stress. In: European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Conference 2019, 7-10 Sep 2019, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Klaus, K, Butler, Kevin, Gutierrez, H, Durrant, S and Pennington, K (2017) Interactive effects of early life stress and CACNA1C genotype on cortisol awakening response. In: Annual Meeting of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, 23-26 July 2017, Harrogate, UK.

Klaus, K, Butler, Kevin, Bridle, C and Pennington, K (2017) The role of DRD2 C957T and ANKK1 Taq1A polymorphisms in working memory performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. In: Genes, Brain and Behavior Meeting 2017., 15-16 may 2017, Madrid, Spain.

Butler, Kevin, Klaus, K and Pennington, K (2016) Elevated cortisol awakening response associated with early life stress and impaired executive function in healthy adult males. In: Annual Meeting of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, 17-20 Jul 2016, Brighton, UK.

Butler, Kevin, Rusted, J, Gard, P and Jackson, A (2012) Self-control in former smokers that have maintained long term abstinence. In: Annual Meeting of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, 22-25 Jul 2012, Harrogate, UK.

Butler, Kevin, Rusted, J, Gard, P and Jackson, A (2011) Probabilistic reversal learning behaviour in current, former and never smokers. In: XIII Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 08-11 Sep 2011, Antalaya, Turkey.

Butler, Kevin, Rusted, J, Gard, P and Jackson, A (2008) Smoking a single cigarette does not alter sensitivity to punishment. In: Annual Meeting of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, 20-23 Jul 2008, Harrogate, UK.

Other

Marechal, L, Clark, L, Ritchie, K and Butler, Kevin (2020) First impressions matter in human-macaque interactions [Conference Abstract]. Folia Primatologica, 91 (3).

Klaus, K, Butler, Kevin, Durrant, S, Hodgson, T, Gutierrez, H and Pennington, K (2016) The effect of DRD2 C957T and catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met polymorphisms on executive function and the impact of early life stress. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 26 (S2). P S171.

Butler, Kevin, Rusted, J, Gard, P and Jackson, A (2013) Current and former smokers differ in performance monitoring. Behavioural Pharmacology. 24. p e61.

Trick, L, Butler, Kevin, Dawson, J, Johnsen, S and Boyle, J (2007) Cognitive and psychomotor function, quality of life and sleep in seasonal allergic rhinitis patients. Allergy, 62 (s83): p488.

Butler, Kevin, Trick, L and Hindmarch, I (2004) A double-blind, placebo controlled investigation into the effects of nitrous oxide (50%) on cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy volunteers. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 7 (s2): s272.

This list was generated on Sat Nov 27 00:19:07 2021 GMT.
  • Substance use disorders
  • Predictors of substance use/abstinence
  • Tobacco and cannabis use
  • Psychopharmacology (particularly of nicotine and cannabis)
  • Experimental psychology
  • Translational psychology
  • Assessment of cognitive and behavioural endophenotypes relevant to addiction (e.g., impulsivity and decision making)
  • Stress (related to cognitive/behavioural impact, as a risk factor for mental health conditions, and cortisol assessment) 

Last updated 16 November 2021

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