Started program in 2012
Mentor Selected: Christopher Olsen, PhD Lab, Pharmacology & Toxicology
First year lab rotations:
Addiction is a disease of motivated behavior that is thought to involve neuronal adaptations in the brain. While addiction research has historically focused on the rewarding effect of drugs of abuse, there is a growing societal need to understand non-drug rewards, such as compulsive gambling. Previous studies have shown that similar brain regions are activated during both drug and non-drug reward. However, little is known as to whether the neurons in these regions are impacted in the same manner or if the same neurons are engaged by both drug and non-drug rewards. Recent work done in our lab suggests that a similar set of neurons in the PrL PFC is engaged in both novelty seeking and drug administration. My research will focus on expanding our understanding of the neural populations and pathways that underlie both drug and non-drug rewards. By using transgenic mouse models, I will be able to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of addiction.
Asato MR, Nawarawong N, Hermann B, Crumrine P, Luna B (2011). Deficits in oculomotor performance in pediatric epilepsy. Epilepsia 52(2): 377-85.