Neurobiology of motivated behavior
Our research focuses on the neural circuits that control reward-seeking actions (positive reinforcement) as well as the avoidance of aversive outcomes (negative reinforcement). The lab employs a diverse array of experimental techniques, including fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, optogenetics, chemogenetics, and fiber photometry. We are particularly interested in how the mesolimbic dopamine system governs actions in a regionally and temporally defined manner. Our goal is to identify and reverse neural adaptations underlying aberrant motivational processes in models of psychiatric disorders.
In the news
Sean Tritley won a poster award at the 2018 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) for his work on how dopamine release in the ventral lateral striatum mediates the stress-induced enhancement in learning.
Merridee Lefner won the Best Neuroscience Graduate Student Poster at the UTSA College of Sciences Research Conference for her work on dopamine’s role in facilitating and expressing changes in subjective preference