Addiction is a behavioral phenomenon that depends critically upon experience with the drug and upon the modulation of drug-related behavior by conditioning. Therefore, to understand the underlying neural basis for alcohol and drug addiction, we need to investigate neuronal function in real-time within animal models of addictive behavior. Our laboratory uses extracellular ensemble neurophysiological recording to measure the activity of neurons in awake-behaving rodents during the operant self-administration of alcohol, other drugs of abuse, and natural rewards. These studies examine the contribution of neural activity patterns within the brain reward circuitry to alcohol and drug-seeking behavior. We also use behavioral pharmacological techniques to understand the contribution of specific neurochemical and neuroanatomical systems to the effects of alcohol on behavior. We are especially interested in the mechanisms that underlie the ability of conditioned cues and contexts to drive reward-seeking behavior.

Lab Members

Josiah Boivin, Graduate Student
Costanza Burattini, Visiting Scholar
Zack Chadick, Postdoctoral Fellow
Sarah Fischbach, Graduate Student
Michael Gill, Senior Research Scientist
Ronald Keiflin, Postdoctoral Fellow
Joung-Hun Kim, Visiting Scholar
Joo Han Lee, Visiting Scholar
Virginia Long, Postdoctoral Fellow
Alexandra Loucks, Graduate Student
Pierre-Marie Martin, Visiting Scholar
Zayra Millan, Postdoctoral Fellow
Hong Nie, Associate Research Scientist
Rebecca Reese, Staff Research Associate
Susan Sangha, Postdoctoral Fellow
Elizabeth Steinberg, Graduate Student
Kate Vitale, Graduate Student
Mimi Zou, Staff Research Associate


Patricia Janak’s publications