Primary Appointment: Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology
Mail Stop 8130
12801 E. 17th Avenue, room L18-4103
Aurora, Colorado 80045
Telephone: (303) 724-0828
Circuit mechanisms that regulate motivated behavior and addiction with a specific focus on subcircuits in the interconnected nuclei of the ventral basal ganglia.
My research interests focus on the neural coding of reward and motivation in the interconnected nuclei of the ventral basal ganglia and the regulation of motivated behavior by distinct subcircuits within this network. The ventral basal ganglia are an integral part of the brain reward system and the functioning of this system is disrupted in psychiatric disorders of motivation, including addiction and depression. My research thus far has focused extensively on two distinct striatopallidal systems, first-order projections within the ventral basal ganglia that oppositely regulate motivated states. Drug use reduces the functioning of synapses in the limiter pathway, thus potentiating the motivation to seek drugs and increasing the risk of relapse. Another important aspect of my research is focused on the roles of distinct downstream pallidal subcircuits and their regulation of motivation and drug relapse. These research projects are federally funded by NIDA and the NIH Common Fund.