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Associate Professor, Pharmacology Member, Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies

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 solitarius (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.