About Me

My laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular and cellular mechanism of addiction to drugs of abuse including cocaine and alcohol. Our recent primary focus is to investigate neuroadaptations in the network of monoamine transporters (e.g. dopamine transporters) and GPCRs (e.g. dopamine D2 autoreceptors) in response to drugs of abuse. Both cultured cells and animal models of drug abuse are utilized to study drug abuse at the molecular and systemic levels. We use a combination of genetic, viral, molecular, biochemical, proteomic and confocal microscopy techniques. My laboratory has constructed and produced lentivirus and adeno-associated virus that can be utilized to overexpress or knock down specific genes of our interest in vivo.

Research Laboratory

Chen Lab: Investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neuroadaptations to chronic exposure of drugs of abuse including psychostimulants and alcohol and identify potential new targets for treatment of drug abuse.

Educational Program Involvement


Graduate 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.