I am interested in the cellular physiology of brain regions that mediate motivated and compulsive behaviors, including the nucleus accumbens and its cortical and subcortical glutamatergic inputs. I combine brain slice electrophysiology with pharmacology, optogenetics, and behavior to understand how basal neuronal properties and functional neuro-adaptations in a given brain region can contribute to pathological ethanol intake and other behaviors. My major research focus examines how action potential firing, glutamate receptors, and neuromodulator signaling are altered by the long-term intake of ethanol. Information from these brain slice experiments is then used to determine the behavioral importance of such neuro-adaptations for excessive, compulsive ethanol intake. In this way, I hope to identify the critical, persistent neuro-adaptations that facilitate pathological ethanol intake and to rationally design novel therapeutic interventions to counteract these changes and reduce cravings and relapse in humans.