Kyung-An Han

Bioscience Research Building
El Paso Texas, 79968
Phone Logo(915) 747-8950
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Kyung-An Han
Professor, Biological Sciences
Associate Dean, College of Science

Dr. Han’s research interest is the neurobiological basis of behavioral plasticity. Monoamines (e.g. dopamine and norepinephrine) and acetylcholine 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, drug abuse, addiction and dementia. Dr. Han’s research is directed at elucidating the mechanisms by which dopamine, octopamine (an invertebrate counterpart of mammalian norepinephrine) and acetylcholine 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 resources. Her study has uncovered the critical roles of dopamine and acetylcholine in inhibitory control. Dysfunctional inhibitory control (e.g. impulsivity) is associated with substance abuse, obesity and dementia, which are of significant concerns in the El Paso community. A major goal of her current research is to elucidate the mechanism by which dopamine and acetylcholine regulate inhibitory control, fulfilling the UTEP’s mission. The molecules important for neural functions are conserved from Drosophila to humans. Knowledge obtained from her study in Drosophila will provide useful insights into the neurobiological basis of behavioral plasticity and related disorders in humans.


  1. Learning
  2. Memory
  3. Behavioral plasticity
  4. Addiction
  5. Impulsivity
  6. Alcohol abuse
  7. Attention
  8. Motivation
  9. Reproduction
  10. Disinhibition
  11. Behavior
  12. Conditioning
  13. Ovulation
  14. Monoamines
  15. Dopamine
  16. Octopamine
  17. Acetylcholine
  18. Plasticity
  19. Neural circuit
  20. Dementia
  21. Alzheimer's disease
  22. Parkinson's disease
  23. ADHD
  24. Autism
  25. TBI
  26. Drosophila
  27. Fruit fly
  28. Genetics
  29. Inhibitory control
  30. Behavioral disinhibition
  31. Impulsivity