“Iowa City is a nice place to live, especially when you're in grad school. It's similar to many other college towns in being very progressive and full of well-educated people.”
Neurobiology of drug addiction and neurobiology of memory consolidation
My laboratory focuses on two lines of research: the neural circuitry underlying memory consolidation and the neurobiology underlying cocaine-seeking behavior in rats. In our memory consolidation work, we use optogenetics in combination with different types of learning tasks in rats to elucidate the neural pathways that underlie the consolidation of different types of memories. In particular, we focus on amygdala interactions with a variety of brain regions to understand the modulation of memory processes. In our cocaine seeking work, we use a drug self-administration model in order to understand the relapse back to drug-seeking behavior. Using this model of drug seeking, we investigate the neural systems that drive this behavior, with a particular focus on the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens.