Campus Affiliation: Hunter College
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph. D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Training Area: Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
Research Interests: Neuroscience of drug abuse and addiction
Research Focus: Neuroscience
My current research plans are to analyze signal transduction pathways that are physiologically relevant and further underlie the behavioral response to abuse drugs including cocaine. Specifically, we have been analyzing the RNA and protein levels of c-fos, an important marker of neuronal activations, opioid peptides and receptors, and monoamines and their receptors. We are interested to study the factors that regulate these genes and may thus modify behavioral dependencies of drugs of abuse. We have recently found that gender/hormones modify the regulation of some of these systems in response to cocaine. Furthermore we are interested in how drugs modulate the activities of growth factors/cytokines that play important roles in CNS neurodegeneration/inflammation processes that influence cognition processing. We have recently discovered that in neuroendocrine tissues including rat brain and glial and astrocyte cultures, cytokines and abuse drugs activate two signaling pathways, the JAK/STAT and the AP-1 transcription factors that are known to regulate many CNS functions that underlie behavioral activations.