Kyung-An Han

Bioscience Research Building
El Paso Texas, 79968
Phone Logo(915) 747-8950
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Kyung-An Han
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Associate Professor, Biological Sciences - Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC)
Director, Master of Arts in Teaching Science
Director, Director for Neuromodulation Disorders (Neuroscience), BBRC

Dr. Han’s research interest is the molecular, cellular and neural basis of behavioral plasticity. Monoamines such as dopamine and norepinephrine are major neuromodulators regulating numerous brain functions such as attention, motivation, reward, learning, memory and motor control. Their anomalous functions underlie various brain disorders including Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, ADHD, autism, PTSD and drug abuse and addiction. Dr. Han’s research is directed at elucidating the mechanisms by which dopamine and octopamine (an invertebrate counterpart of mammalian norepinephrine) mediate behavioral plasticity induced by natural stimuli and addictive drugs (e.g. alcohol), and reproduction in Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila is a powerful model organism due to advanced genetics and vast resources. Her study indicates the critical role of dopamine in inhibitory control. Dysfunctional inhibitory control (e.g. impulsivity) is strongly associated with substance abuse and obesity, which are of significant concerns in the El Paso community. A major goal of her current research is to elucidate the mechanism that dopamine regulates inhibitory control, fulfilling the UTEP’s mission. The molecules important for neural functions and plasticity are conserved from Drosophila to humans. Knowledge obtained from her study in Drosophila will provide insights into the neurobiological basis of behavioral plasticity and related disorders in humans.


  1. ADHD
  2. Alcohol abuse
  3. Alzheimer's disease
  4. Attention
  5. Autism
  6. Behavior


  1. Education for the 21st Century Demographic
  2. Health & Biomedical Sciences and Engineering
  3. Cross-cutting: Emerging Technologies: Information Technology, Biotechnology & Nanotechnology
  4. Cross-cutting: U.S. –Mexico and Latin America: Social and Behavioral Issues