My research examines how the brain processes information about rewards, and how that information is used to guide goal-directed actions. Reward-related processing is complex, involving mechanisms of learning, memory, motivation, decision-making and movement. I strive to tease apart these components on a neural level under normal conditions, and understand how this system becomes maladaptive in drug addiction.
My lab takes a multidisciplinary approach in rodent models to pursue these goals. At the core of this work is the development of sophisticated behavioral tasks that enable us to examine discrete aspects of reward processing. We then combine our behavioral designs with various methodologies including multi-neuron recording, local field potential recording, electrochemistry (FSCV), iontophoresis, optogenetics (alone and in combination with electrophysiology) and calcium imaging methods. A brief overview of some topics currently under investigation in my lab are available on my research page.