CAS Bids Farewell to Long-Time Researcher Overstreet

Volume 20, Number 4, December 2009


Judy and David Overstreet with Fulton Crews.

      With 40 years of research and nearly 300 publications under his belt, David H. Overstreet, Ph.D., gave a farewell seminar to family, friends and colleagues in September on the UNC Campus. The seminar marked Overstreet’s retirement after a long and remarkable career in research. He plans to spend most of his newly found free time with family in Arizona and California.
Overstreet’s seminar, “Can 2-Bottle Choice Still Be Used Effectively to Study Alcohol Drinking,” highlighted his own work with colleagues across a successful history of basic strategies to measure ethanol preference in animal models. After his seminar,

    Overstreet was presented with a plaque in recognition of a lifetime of research discoveries.
In his 20 years at the UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, Overstreet published nearly 10 manuscripts per year with a primary emphasis on animal models of alcoholism and depression. Overstreet was a key player in the development of the Flinders Sensitive rat line (FSL, a model of depression) and the Fawn Hooded rat line (FH/Wjd, a model of comorbid depression and alcoholism), both of which have been extensively used in the study of the behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of these human conditions. He has published widely on models of anxiety and ethanol withdrawal, novel compounds, cholinergic function and more.

    Overstreet will continue to collaborate with close colleagues George Breese, Ph.D., and Darin Knapp, Ph.D. on corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) as well as other mediators of anxiety after alcohol withdrawal. He is also finalizing projects with other UNC faculty members on the effects of pregnenolone and oxytocin on alcohol drinking.

    Overstreet graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1972, he received a Ph.D. in psychobiology from the University of California, Irvine. Overstreet joined the Bowles Center and the Department of Psychiatry in 1990.

    “David Overstreet’s retirement will produce a ‘vacuum’ for the laboratory. While we will miss his quick wit, we will miss more the major contributions he has made to the successes our laboratory has enjoyed,” said Breese.