I have a broad background in neurochemistry and neuropharmacology, with specific training and expertise in key research areas for addiction biology. My training in voltammetry was obtained in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Wightman, a pioneer in the application of electrochemistry to neurotransmitter measurements in behaving animals. Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) provides real time measurements of neurotransmitter concentrations in vivo and in vitro. With subsecond time resolution, micrometer-dimension spatial resolution, and good chemical selectivity, FSCV is the most suitable technique currently available to evaluate dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine dynamics in real time. During multiple years, I have successfully used FSCV to study changes in neurotransmitter release and uptake in different animal preparations from a variety of species (mice, rats and monkeys). During the last eight years, I have leveraged new advances in genetic manipulations to examine the role of neurotransmitter release in behavioral models. I have utilized RNA interference and pioneered the use of optogenetics to induce specific patterns of neurotransmitter release in the rat and mouse brain. Optogenetics will in essence allow me to “speak the language of the brain” and to empirically test whether specific alterations in neuronal activity are responsible for generating behavior. I have successfully administered multiple projects as PI, collaborated with other researchers and mentored young scientists.
Educational Program InvolvementGraduate Programs in Neuroscience Program Research Interest: Addiction and Substance Abuse, Behavioral and Systems Neurobiology, Development and Plasticity, Molecular Neurobiology, Neurological Disease and Aging, Neuropharmacology, Sensory Neurobiology
Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology PhD
Program Research Interest: Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Cardiovascular Physiology and Hypertension, Regenerative Medicine, Neuro- and Behavioral Pharmacology, Cancer Therapeutics Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Lifespan Physiology.