The mechanisms that control typical brain development function differently in chronic conditions, such as drug addiction, depression, and autism. The Integrative Neurobiology Laboratory, originally founded in 2005 at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas, and moved to McLean in 2012, works to identify and target specific molecules involved in those changes, with the ultimate goal of developing new treatments.
Our team uses a range of techniques to understand how abused substances hijack brain function to promote addiction-related behaviors. We aim to target specific molecules as potential therapies for addiction—for example, by reducing the rewarding effect of drugs.
Mood disorders are pervasive illnesses with few effective treatments. Our scientists aim to better understand how stress, a common precipitating factor for mood disorders (and drug abuse relapse), alters normal brain function.
Our scientists investigate disruptions in brain development that increase risk for autism—including atypical connections between brain cells. By understanding the molecular underpinnings of autism spectrum disorders, we aim to identify new therapeutic targets for treatment of autism.