Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
dopamine, hippocampus, schizophrenia, drug abuse, electrophysiology, neuroscience
The mesolimbic dopamine system regulates the cognitive, motivational and behavioral processes critical to normal functioning. Dysfunction in this system has been linked to a number of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and drug abuse. Our research centers around how the mesolimbic dopamine system is regulated by afferent structures, such as the ventral hippocampus. We combine in vivo electrophysiology with activation and/or inactivation of afferent structures to examine how these pathways interact to control dopamine neuron output. To complement this systems-oriented approach, behavioral and neurochemical methods are employed to provide an important correlate for changes observed at the cellular level. Using such an approach, we hope to provide a better understanding into how disturbances in the control of dopamine neuron activity may contribute to psychiatric disorders.
Li Chen - Postdoctoral Fellow
Angela Boley - Research Assistant
David Aguilar - Graduate Student
Stephanie Perez - Graduate Student