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Assistant Professor, Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Research Interests

Inhibitory microcircuitry governing network function and it’s role in motivated behaviors
The role of changes in tonic inhibitory signaling in the physiological dysregulation associated with dependence on alcohol and drugs of abuse
Inhibitory networks governing the flow of information from the periphery and how it impacts central processing

Research Synopsis

My research interests involve the structure of inhibitory neuronal networks and how these networks change to produce adverse behavioral outcomes. My main interest is how the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) regulates neuronal networks via both synaptic and extrasynaptic forms of inhibition and how alterations in inhibitory networks contribute to clinical conditions such as alcohol use disorder, nicotine, addiction, or stress. My work has focused primarily on three brain regions: the nucleus tractus solitaries (NTS), central and basolateral amygdala, and ventral tegmental area. In each of these areas I have identified local inhibitory networks that control overall excitability and that are dysregulated by exposure to acute and or chronic exposure to alcohol or nicotine.


Quadir S, Arleth GM, Jahad JV, Echeveste Sanchez M, Effinger DP, Herman MA “Sex Differences in Affective States and Association with Voluntary Ethanol Intake in Sprague Dawley Rats” Psychopharmacology. In press

Crofton EJ, Zhu M, Curtis KN, Nolan GW, O’Buckley TK, Morrow AL, Herman MA. Medial prefrontal cortex-basolateral amygdala circuit dysfunction in chronic alcohol-exposed male rats. Neuropharmacology. 2021 Dec 6;108912. PMID: 34883134

Zhu M, Echeveste Sanchez M, Douglass E, Hanback T, Guhr Lee TN, Esther CR Jr, Cole M, Roberts AJ, Herman MA. Electronic nicotine vapor exposure produces differential changes in central amygdala neuronal activity, thermoregulation and locomotor behavior in male mice. eNeuro. 2021 Aug 11;8(4):ENEURO.0189-21.2021. PMID: 34321216 

Agoglia AE, Zhu M, Douglass E, Hanback T, Tella J, Ying R, Hodge CW and Herman MA. Sex-specific plasticity in CRF regulation of inhibitory control in central amygdala CRF1 neurons after chronic voluntary alcohol drinking. Addiction Biology. 2021 Jun 2:e13067. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34075665 

Hughes BA, O’Buckley TK, Boero G, Herman MA, Morrow AL. Sex- and subtype-specific adaptations in excitatory signaling onto deep-layer prelimbic cortical pyramidal neurons after chronic alcohol exposure. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2021 May 25. doi: 10.1038/s41386-021-01034-1. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34035471

Agoglia AE, Tella J, Herman MA. Sex differences in corticotropin releasing factor peptide regulation of inhibitory control and excitability in central amygdala corticotropin releasing factor receptor 1-neurons. Neuropharmacology. 2020 Dec 1;180:108296. PMID:

Agoglia AE, Crofton EJ, Herman MA. Biological intersection of sex, age, and environment in the corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) system and alcohol. Neuropharmacology. 2020 Jun 15;170:108045. PMID: 32217364

Agoglia AE, Zhu M, Ying R, Sidhu H, Natividad LA, Wolfe SA, Buczynski MW, Contet C, Parsons LH, Roberto M, Herman MA. Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Receptor-1 Neurons in the Lateral Amygdala Display Selective Sensitivity to Acute and Chronic Ethanol Exposure. eNeuro. 2020 Mar 5;7(2):ENEURO.0420-19.2020. PMID: 32041742

Agoglia A., Herman MA. The Center of the Emotional Universe: alcohol, stress, and CRF1 amygdala circuitry. Alcohol. 2018. Nov;72:61-73. PMID: 30220589.


Click here for a full list of publications from PubMed

  • Address

    1025B Thurston Bowles Bldg

    104 Manning Drive


    Chapel Hill, NC 27599