We use electrophysiology and machine learning approaches to identify the neural circuit underpinnings of sex differences in addictive behaviors. We are working on isolating the neural circuit(s) that contain information regarding alcohol intake in female rats, and identify the neural features (i.e., specific oscillations across frequencies and regions) that are associated with escalated alcohol consumption in dependent male and female rats.
We are also interested in understanding how early life environmental stressors lead to the development of substance use disorders in adulthood. Prenatal exposure to infection is a risk factor for psychosis-related disorders and depression, which are often co-occur with substance use. We therefore use a rodent model of prenatal exposure to infection to study the neurobiology of these co-occurring disorders, with the goal of helping to identify novel therapeutics to reduce addictive behaviors in vulnerable populations.