Skip to main content

Benjamin Hughes

Research Assistant Professor


Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies

Education and Training:

B.S., Psychology (Behavioral Neuroscience), East Tennessee State University
Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences (Neuroscience), Medical University of South Carolina
Post-Doctoral Fellowship, A. Leslie Morrow’s Laboratory, UNC Chapel Hill

Summary Statement:

I am a Research Assistant Faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry working within the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies. My research interests concern the biochemical and physiological adaptations that occur in brain regions like the prefrontal cortex (PFC) with heavy, dependence-like alcohol consumption. Thus far, my research at UNC has shown that chronic alcohol elicits both pre- and post-synaptic adaptations in GABAA receptor-mediated neurotransmission onto deep-layer pyramidal neurons in the PFC, consistent with clinical reports of cortical dysregulation in alcohol dependent individuals. Ongoing work is currently focused on further characterizing electrophysiological changes within the cortical inhibitory network, specifically investigating interneuron subtype-specific adaptations. As well, I am particularly interested in probing how such adaptations differ between sexes. When not in the lab, I also enjoy doing “Type-2 Fun” activities including running, mountaineering, and being bullied by my dogs.

For a list of published works, please see: