Our work with Operant Conditioning
Understanding how motivation and sensitivity to changing costs are dysregulated in drug addiction
While changes in basic consummatory processes are interesting, these don't explain the behavioral maladaptation that is characteristic of drug addiction. Our work focuses on complex behavioral tasks that can dissociate consummatory processes from changes in motivation. Using the within session threshold procedure we are able to use economic principals to understand how animals respond to changes in reward value. These types of behavioral tasks are particularly powerful because this type of analysis is normalized and thus can be compared across compounds and species. Our work aims to combine these tasks with molecular and circuit techniques to understand the neurochemical processes controlling these behaviors.
Understanding how pattern of drug consumption influences neurochemical consequences
A large body of work has focused on the neurochemical consequences of drugs of abuse on reward circuits. However, a large number of studies have focused on experimenter delivered models that result in high levels of drug during intermittent exposure periods. Conversely, self-administration studies have looked at the neurochemical consequences of cocaine self-administration over periods where animals maintain high levels of drug over many hours. Our work has aimed at understanding how the pattern in which a drug is administered influences the neurochemical and behavioral consequences of that occur as a result of drug consumption.