Senior Research Scientist
Department of Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences
Experience-induced or drug-induced neural adaptations associated with increased vulnerability to, or expression of, drug addiction, anxiety, and maternal behavior; mesolimbic cortical pathway function; neuropeptide regulation of monoamines; behavioral regulation of pain and analgesia.
Dr. Thompson’s research interest lies in neuropeptide regulation of the putative neural circuits involved in the expression of strongly motivated behaviors, including substance abuse disorders and maternal behavior. This research focuses mainly on two families of neuropeptides: gut peptides (e.g., neuropeptide Y and glucagon-like peptide-1) and endogenous opioids. Her current primary line of research focuses on the role of neuropeptide Y in mediating persistent cocaine abuse. A second line of research investigates placentophagia, a behavior that is common to most mammals during delivery of young, and its role in the regulation of endogenous opioid activity in the brain during parturition and then the consequences of this regulation of endogenous opioids to the onset of maternal behavior and pain sensitivity. A third line of research looks for cellular and molecular neural adaptations consequent to chronic drug exposure.