I have a major interest in motivational systems. Pain and pleasure are two important motivational forces that shape our behavior and help us to make informed decisions. I use an experimental approach in animals to analyze the circuits in the brain that mediate pain and reward. My interest in addiction is a natural outgrowth of my research on analgesic drugs, many of which are addicting. The studies of pain and reward are not as disparate as they might first appear. In fact, the relief of pain and the production of pleasure are closely related at both the subjective and neural circuit levels. Both have strong influences and are influenced by learning. Current research in my laboratory utilizes in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, pharmacology, and behavioral techniques. We are investigating the neural mechanisms underlying the acquisition and expression of reward-seeking and aversive behaviors.

Alcoholism: Vice or Disease? A Conversation with Howard Fields

Lab Members

Daicia Allen, Staff Research Associate
Fred Ambroggi, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Allison Coker, Graduate Student
Joseph Driscoll, Staff Research Associate
Peter Fong, Staff Research Associate
Ali Ghazizadeh, Graduate Student
Gregory Hjelmstad, Ph.D., Associate Investigator
Thomas Hnasko, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar
Elyssa Margolis, Ph.D., Assistant Research Scientist
Jennifer Mitchell, Ph.D., Project Director, Clinical Studies
Naomi Odean, Staff Research Associate
Yan-Fang Xia, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow


Howard Fields’ publications