Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that affects more than 20 million people every year in the United States. Drugs of abuse cause permanent changes to the brain and can have harsh consequences for individuals, their families, and their descendants.
One of the major challenges of addiction is the profound and long-lasting depression and stress that emerge during drug withdrawal, often which cause addicts to relapse.
Our goal is to understand on the molecular, genetic, and behavioral levels how drugs of abuse such as cocaine and morphine alter the brain to produce these negative withdrawal states. This information is critical to developing medicines that ease the depression and stress of withdrawal, and prevent relapse.
The Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior Laboratory was founded in 2008.