We study the physiological processes regulated by native nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), a large family of ligand gated ion channel proteins. These receptors mediate key aspects of cholinergic signaling in the brain and are involved in several important cognitive processes, including motivated behavior, affective behavior, attention and learning/memory. Aberrant nAChR activity is linked to several neurological diseases/disorders, such as nicotine addiction, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. We use a broad range of techniques, including patch clamp electrophysiology, confocal and two-photon imaging, immunohistochemistry and behavioral approaches.
Learn more about my research at the Drenan Lab.