NEUROBIOLOGY OF MOTIVATED BEHAVIOR LABORATORY
Our goal is to understand the molecular, cellular, and circuit-based mechanisms underlying drug dependence and withdrawal using animal behavioral models with high relevance to the human condition of drug addiction. Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse changes the brain such that drug withdrawal elicits a protracted constellation of negative affective signs. These include depressive- and anxiety-like signs as well as an increased sensitivity to stress and drug-associated cues, all of which work in concert to increase the likelihood of relapse. We study both females and males in tandem because there is striking evidence for sex differences in every facet of the addiction cycle.