Rebecca Fanelli



I graduated from Cornell University in 2007, where I received a BA in Biology with a concentration in Neurobiology and Behavior. For the next two years, I worked with Dr. Jose Florez as a clinical research coordinator conducting pharmacogenetics studies at Massachusetts General Hospital. I came to UNC in 2009 and joined the Robinson Lab where I study alcoholism, investigating the neural circuits that may contribute to habit formation.


My research examines the neurodynamics of addiction and whether the effects of ethanol can be ameliorated by potentially therapeutic drugs. Our lab models goal-directed and habitual behavior in rats, using in vivo recording techniques to analyze neuronal transmission during alcohol self-administration. Focusing on the striatum, a structure in the reward pathway suspected to be responsible for habit formation, I will investigate phasic firing patterns and changes in dopamine release using array electrophysiology and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry.