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

4/11/19
Park
The study will help define the role of the olfactory tubercle (OT) in mediating substance use disorder-related neurochemical and behavioral phenomena and will provide more effective therapeutic targets.
4/11/19
Meyer
This study will use animal models of alcohol drinking to determine under which conditions nicotine enhances alcohol intake.
4/10/19
Li
This research explores the potential therapeutic value of Trace Amine Associated Receptor 1 (TAAR 1) agonists for nicotine addiction.
4/10/19
Dietz
Researchers will study how chronic cocaine use changes neurobiological functions in the brain, in hopes to identify possible pharmaceutical therapies to combat addiction.
4/10/19
Dietz
This grant will investigate the role of activin signaling in the brain’s hippocampus (HPC) in cue-induced cocaine seeking following both acute and prolonged drug abstinence.
4/10/19
Bass
The project will study certain brain neurons to determine potential strategies to prevent relapse
into cocaine addiction.
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
Shen
The study will investigate if prenatal alcohol exposure leads to immature neurodevelopment of the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain region controlling executive function.
2/20/19
Haj-Dahmane
Researchers will study how prenatal alcohol exposure alters the function of the brain's serotonin system.
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.
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  | 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.