At the Jones laboratory, we focus on measuring monoamine neurotransmitters in several different animal models of drug and alcohol abuse. The two primary techniques used are cyclic voltammetry and microdialysis.
We have current projects examining the consequences of chronic exposure to alcohol, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, Ritalin and high-fat diets. We have collaborations with Drs. Brian McCool and Jeff Weiner concerning the consequences of early life stress and alcohol dependence on dopamine and glutamate signaling in the basolateral amygdala and nucleus accumbens, and with Drs. Rong Chen and Habibeh Khoshbouei (University of Florida) on how dopamine transporters are altered by stimulant exposure.
Our laboratory has been documenting the consequences of chronic, high-dose, long-access cocaine self-administration under a variety of schedules of reinforcement for more than a decade. We have focused on two major adaptation categories: hypodopaminergia and cocaine tolerance. Hypodopaminergia describes the reduced function of dopamine terminals in striatal regions, and cocaine tolerance refers to a marked reduction in cocaine's ability to inhibit dopamine uptake, which leads to escalating cocaine intake over time.
Our lab has secured funding for our research from the following:
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Wake Forest School of Medicine Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction Treatment (NIDA-funded P50)
- Wake Forest School of Medicine Translational Alcohol Research Center (NIAAA-funded P50 center grant)