Our hypothesis is that the manner and degree to which an individual learns from reward and punishment determines their susceptibility to depression and addiction. We aim to characterize the ways in which reward systems vary from individual to individual and understand how this variation determines propensity for depression and addiction-like behavior.

To accomplish this, we use:

  • Innovative optical techniques to measure how discrete brain circuits encode reward and punishment in rodents
  • Optogenetics to determine how perturbation of these circuits affects motivated behavior
  • Slice electrophysiology to determine how neurotransmission of specific neural projections is altered in animal models of depression and addiction

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