Thomas Kash, Ph.D.
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies
John Andrews Distinguished Professor
Department of Pharmacology
My broad scientific goal is to understand how modulation of discrete neuronal circuits can shape behavior and to deconstruct the molecular mechanisms that underlie this modulation. Research in my lab is focused on understanding how stress and drug abuse can alter neuronal function in brain regions that regulate emotional behavior. This is a topic that is fascinating from a basic science standpoint, but also absolutely critical from the public health standpoint, as psychiatric disorders exert a tremendous economic impact on our society. These investigations are performed using a multidisciplinary approach, ranging from behavioral analysis to detailed mechanistic signaling analysis in individual neurons. This integrative approach has been exciting and has allowed me to move my science beyond correlation to explore causative relationships. I have multiple active projects and grants related to discovering different aspects of stress and drug induced behavioral pathologies, ranging from examining the impact of stress on the amygdala to understanding how binge-drinking can modulate neuropeptide signaling in the bed nucleus of the stria termanlis. My goal moving forward is to continue to probe causative mechanisms of modulation in the brain. In addition, via a collaboration with Bryan Roth, I am working to develop new chemical genetic tools that will allow for a more refined dissection of how signaling in the brain can alter behavior.