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Hodge 2015Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies

Office | 3019A Thurston-Bowles Bldg, CB#7178
Email |
Lab Website | Hodge Lab
Biographical Sketch | Hodge Biosketch

Research Interests:

The Hodge laboratory is focused on understanding the neural mechanisms of alcohol-seeking behavior. The primary goal of our research is to identify and validate neural targets (e.g., receptors, kinases, transcription factors, and neural circuits) of alcohol that mechanistically control alcohol reinforcement (e.g., alcohol-seeking behavior) and other behavioral pathologies associated with alcohol use disorder. In other words, we are investigating how alcohol hijacks brain and behavioral processes to produce addiction.

To accomplish this goal, we employ state-of-the-art computer-controlled operant alcohol self-administration methods that are complemented by a variety of rodent behavioral measures of cognition, anxiety, motor behavior, and reward. Behavioral methods are coupled with site-specific brain microinjection, immunohistochemical and immunoblot techniques, proteomic methods, gene knockout, and viral vector strategies that allow us to define brain regions and pathways that the mediate reinforcing effects of alcohol. At the neurochemical level, our work is focused on the role of amino acid neurotransmitters, such as glutamate with emphasis on mGluR5 and AMPA receptor subtypes. We also focus on cell signaling kinases (ERK MAPK, CaMKII, PKC) that mediate long-term neurobehavioral adaptations to ethanol. At the neural circuit level, we have made seminal discoveries of how dopamine, GABA, glutamate receptors, cell signaling systems, within mesolimbic circuits (VTA, accumbens, amygdala, hypothalamus, and frontal cortex) regulate alcohol’s reinforcing effects.


Recent Publications:

Click for a list of publications from PubMed