A novel brain neurotransmitter, the neuropeptide urotensin II, has recently been shown to modulate the brain “reward pathway,” which plays an important role in modulating addictive behaviors. The study will use cellular electrophysiology and behavioral methods to study how urotensin II can affect the reward pathway and influence the cocaine-seeking behavior in rodents. Our studies will give us a better understanding of the fundamental functions of the urotensin II system. This is important in determining whether the urotensin II system could be used as a therapeutic target for the treatment of addiction. Funded by RIA's Howard T. Blane Director’s Award for Development of Innovative Research in the Addictions (BDAA), 2014-2015.