Addiction and Motivated Behavior

Substance abuse and addiction are prominent issues in today's society, significantly impacting people's health and the lives of their families and friends.

Research Goal

Our goal is to uncover why drug abuse and addiction develop in certain individuals and produce research which results in the development of treatments for those individuals. The underlying neural pathways and neurochemistry responsible for regulating processes associated with addiction and the behaviors driving motivated drug seeking and consumption are not yet fully understood.
Though advancements have been made in recording and quantifying the effects of drugs on neural function, further examination is needed to know the mechanisms behind drug abuse and addiction and their associated motivated behaviors.

Research Approach

Using cutting edge techniques, our labs focus on wide-ranging aspects of this multifaceted problem from molecular pathways to systems level processing, aiming to translate basic research findings into meaningful approaches to treatment.

Associated Faculty

+ indicates accepting MS students, * indicates accepting PhD students

Jeffrey L. Weiner+*
Research Interests: Neural substrates underlying vulnerability and resilience to alcohol use disorder and comorbid conditions like PTSD, anxiety and depressive disorders.

Kenneth Tucker Kishida+*
Research Interests: Human cognition, decision-making, computational psychiatry, dopamine, serotonin, human neuroimaging, translational neuroscience

Colleen Hanlon+* 
Research Interests: Addiction, pain, neuroimaging, clinical, alcohol, neural circuits, brain stimulation

Ryan M. Drenan+*
Research Interests: The physiological processes regulated by native nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), a large family of ligand gated ion channel proteins.

Robert Gould+*
Research Interests: Substance abuse, sleep, CNS disorders

Sara Jones+*
Research Interests: Dopamine neurochemistry of drug and alcohol addiction; mouse and rat models of substance abuse

Brian A. McCool*
Research Interests: Cell and molecular neurophysiology of alcohol abuse and anxiety-related behaviors

Paul J. Laurienti*
Research Interests: Brain; Nerve Net; Attention; Aging; Auditory Perception

Kimberly Francis Raab-Graham*
Research Interests: Local protein synthesis, depression, autism, alcohol use disorder, Alzheimer's disease, ion channels, GABAB receptors, mTORC1, calcium imaging, proteomics

Mark John Ferris* 
Research Interests: Learning, motivated behavior, dopamine, acetylcholine, nicotine, psychostimulants, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, individual differences, drug addition, self-administration, HIV, NeuroAIDS

Erik Donny*
Research Interests: Nicotine; Smoking; Smoking Cessation; Tobacco Use Disorder; Reinforcement (Psychology)

Robert E. Hampson*
Research Interests: Mechanisms of brain information processing, models of memory, effects of drugs of abuse on memory, and neural prosthetics

Rong Chen*
Research Interests: Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins; Dopamine; Amphetamine: behavior, Animal; Feeding Behavior

Allyn Howlett+
Research Interests: Neuropharmacology, Signal transduction Cell Biology, Cannabinoid Receptors, Endocannabinoids

Dwayne W. Godwin+
Research Interests: Epilepsy, Alcohol, Memory, MEG

Linda J. Porrino
Research Interests: Cocaine; Cocaine-Related Disorders; Brain; Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors

Michael A. Nader
Research Interests: Social variables affect physiology, pharmacology, neuro-chemistry, behavior in monkeys

Wayne Pratt
Research Interests: The roles of meso-accumbens neurotransmitter systems in food-directed motivation

Paul Czoty
Research Interests: Nonhuman primate models of substance abuse: behavioral pharmacology and brain imaging

Laura J. Veach
Research Interests: Substance Abuse, Addiction Counseling

James Daunais
Research Interests: Neuroimaging, Substance Abuse, Primate, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetoencephalography

Elizabeth H. Shilling
Research Interests: Alcoholism, Addiction Counseling

James C. Eisenach
Research Interests: Addiction and substance abuse, behavioral and systems neurobiology

Thomas 'Jeff' Martin
Research Interests: How pain and drugs of abuse alter cognitive processes, including attention and impulsivity, and the role of discrete cortical and limbic circuit.

Evgeny Budygin
Research Interests: Neurochemical mechanisms that support the reinforcing and motivating actions of abused drugs and lead to the development of addiction