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The Neurobiology of Addiction Research Center

The Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory (SEELAB)

Research Focus

Current research: 

* Neural substrates of addiction and relapse:  Our laboratory uses animal models of chronic drug self-administration to study the role of specific brain nuclei and neurotransmitter systems in mediating drug taking and drug seeking behavior.  A particular focus is the role of cortico-striatal-limbic function in regulating the learned associations that drive relapse to compulsive drug abuse.

* Translational research in addiction:  The discoveries of the fundamental behavioral and neural substrates of relapse help direct our ongoing testing of interventions for the attenuation of craving and relapse in animal models, with the ultimate goal of successful pharmacotherapies for the treatment of drug abuse and dependence.

* Sex differences in addiction: This line of research is focused on determining sex differences and ovarian hormone regulation in a model of relapse to cocaine seeking behavior produced by various stimuli such as stress and conditioned environmental cues.  Further studies are using this model to examine sex differences in the response to possible pharmacotherapies for relapse.

* Neural basis of antipsychotic drug effects:  This research is directed towards understanding the mechanisms of short- and long-term antipsychotic drug action in the brain.  These studies involve administration of a variety of drugs that affect basal ganglia function as measured by changes in neurotransmitter release via intracranial microdialysis.


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