Maiya, Rajani, PhD
Assistant Professor of Physiology

1901 Perdido Street
Room 7159D
New Orleans, LA 70112




  • BSc in Microbiology, Bangalore University
  • MSc in Biotechnology, M.S. University of Baroda
  • PhD in Molecular Biology, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Postdoctoral Fellowships at the Rockefeller University and The University of California at San Francisco
  • Research Scientist at The Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, The University of Texas at Austin

Research Interests

Dr. Maiya is interested in the molecular mechanisms that underlie Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Specifically, on how experience-dependent changes in gene expression are mobilized into neuroadaptive changes that underlie the development of alcohol addiction. To this end, the Maiya lab has two main research projects: 1) Investigating the role of the transcription co-factor Lim-Only 4(LMO4) in alcohol consumption and reward. This NIH-funded project will focus on the molecular mechanisms by which LMO4 and its transcription targets which include the Kappa Opioid Receptor and genes related to the extracellular matrix regulate alcohol consumption and reward. 2) Investigating the molecular mechanisms that underlie social defeat stress-induced escalation of alcohol consumption. This project will use cutting edge molecular genetic tools including whole genome sequencing and targeted recombination in activated populations (TRAP) to investigate molecular and circuit mechanisms that underlie social stress-induced escalation of alcohol consumption.

Teaching Activities

  • Course Director, Special Topics in Neurophysiology: Physiological Basis of Behavior Program in Dental hygiene

Selected Publications

Maiya R., Pomrenze, M.B., Tran, T., Beckham A., Tiwari, G.N., Mayfield, R.D., and Messing R.O. (2020) LMO4-dependent transcriptional networks regulate alcohol consumption and reward Molecular Psychiatry, Mar. 6, epub ahead of print - Article highlighted in University of Texas, College of Natural Sciences Press Release, https://cns.utexas.edu/news/scientists-discover-molecular-culprits-linked-to-alcohol-use-disorders

Pomrenze. M.B., Giovanetti, S.M., Maiya, R., and Messing. R.O. (2019) GABA and neuropeptides from CRF neurons of the rat central amygdala play distinct role in fear and anxiety Cell Reports, 29(1), 13-21

Pomrenze, M.B., Tovor-Diaz, J., Blasio, A.M., Maiya, R., Lei, K., Gyawali, S., Morikawa, H., Hopf, F.W., and Messing, R.O. (2019) A corticotropin releasing factor network in the extended amygdala for anxiety J. Neurosci., 39(6), 1030-1043

Pomrenze, M.B. , Millan, E.Z., Hopf, F.W., Keiflin, R., Maiya, R., Blasio, A., Dadgar, J., Kharazia, V., De Guglielmo, G., Crawford, E., Janak, P.H., George, O., Rice, K.C., Messing, R.O. (2015) A Transgenic Rat for Investigating the Anatomy and Function of Corticotrophin Releasing Factor Circuits. Front. Neurosci.,9, 487

Maiya, R., Mangieri, R.A., Morrisett, R.A., Heberlein, U., Messing, R.O. (2015) A Selective Role for Lmo4 in Cue-Reward Learning. J. Neurosci.,35(26), 9638-47

Maiya, R.*, Lee, S.*, Berger, K.*, Kong, E., Slawson, J.B., Griffith, L.C., Margolis, B., and Heberlein, U. (2012) DlgS97, A neuronal isoform of “discs large” is necessary for ethanol tolerance. PLoS ONE.,7(11), e48967

Maiya, R., Kharazia, V., Lasek, A.W., and Heberlein, U. (2012) LMO4 in the basolateral complex of the amygdala modulates fear learning. PLoS ONE.,7(4), e34559

Zhou, Y.*, Maiya, R.*, Norris, E.H., Kreek, M.J., and Strickland, S. (2010) Involvement of tissue plasminogen activator in stress responsivity and anxiety-like behavior during acute cocaine withdrawal. Stress, 13(6), 481-90

Skrzypiec, A., Maiya, R., Chen, Z., Pawlak, R., and Strickland, S. (2009) Plasmin-mediated degradation of laminin γ-1 is critical for neurodegeneration after ethanol withdrawal. Biological Psychiatry,66(8): 785-94

Maiya, R., Zhou, Y., Norris, E.H., Kreek, M.J., and Strickland, S. (2009) Tissue plasminogen activator regulates the cellular and behavioral response to cocaine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 106(6): 1983-8

Additional Info