My research is focused on the heterogeneous properties of ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons, which are the source of dopamine for many limbic brain regions. I use anatomical, physiological, and pharmacological techniques to resolve the properties and organization of these midbrain neurons. In my lab, we have found that while VTA neuron properties are very heterogeneous, many properties, including sensitivity to different opioids, sort by projection target. We have also been investigating how mu and delta opioid receptor signaling changes in addiction-related conditions. We are using this physiological data to inform the behavioral testing of possible novel targets for more effective treatments for alcohol abuse.


Elyssa Margolis’s publications