RESEARCH FOCUS

Neurobiological Underpinnings of Addictions

Colorized image of human brain

Photo credit: National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

CRIA scientists conduct groundbreaking research about the brain mechanisms that create a vulnerability to addiction in order to develop alternative approaches to treating addiction.

Research at CRIA focused on the neurobiological underpinnings of addiction ranges widely from prenatal and postnatal substance exposure on the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway; to the endocannabinoid (eCB) system and stress response and anxiety-related behavior; to neuropeptides, craving and anxiety during abstinence; to animal models of risky behavior and impulsivity.

Current neurobiological research

11/13/18
Thanos  | Haj-Dahmane
This translational study will look at the role of fatty acid binding proteins in the brain’s endocannabinoid system, particularly in the mechanisms controlling reward and addiction, to identify new potential targets for drug therapies to fight addiction.
11/13/18
Grewen | Eiden
Researchers will study the effects of prenatal cocaine and other drug exposures including opiates on the development of infant brain connections during the first year of life.
11/13/18
Richards | Lucke | Meyer
Researchers will explore the link between addiction and various behaviors, such as response to novelty, sustained attention, reaction time and preferences for rewards. 
11/13/18
Thanos | Hajnal
Researchers will investigate the potential neurological causes of increased propensity for alcohol use disorders by individuals who have undergone gastric bypass surgery.
2/20/19
Eiden | Thanos
Researchers will address the large public health problem of comorbid use of tobacco and cannabis during pregnancy.
2/20/19
Haj-Dahmane
Researchers will study how prenatal alcohol exposure alters the function of the brain's serotonin system.
2/20/19
Shen
The study will investigate if prenatal alcohol exposure leads to immature neurodevelopment of the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain region controlling executive function.