The goal of our research is to better understand the molecular mechanisms of addiction and depression. We use animal models of these disorders to identify the ways in which long-term exposure to drugs of abuse or stress changes the brain to lead to addiction- or depression-like syndromes. A major focus of our work is on drug- and stress-induced changes in gene expression and chromatin structure within the brain’s reward circuitry, and the mechanisms by which those lasting adaptations alter neuronal and circuit function to produce behavioral abnormalities.
Grants & Support
Labonté B, Engmann O, Purushothaman I, Menard C, Wang J, Tan C, Scarpa JR, Moy G, Loh YE, Cahill M, Lorsch ZS, Hamilton PJ, Calipari ES, Hodes GE, Issler O, Kronman H, Pfau M, Obradovic ALJ, Dong Y, Neve RL, Russo S, Kazarskis A, Tamminga C, Mechawar N, Turecki G, Zhang B, Shen L, Nestler EJ. Epub 2017 Sept. 23.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of disease burden worldwide. While the incidence, symptoms and treatment of MDD all point toward major sex differences, the molecular mechanisms underlying this sexual dimorphism remain largely unknown.
Peña CJ, Kronman HG, Walker DM, Cates HM, Bagot RC, Purushothaman I, Issler O, Loh YE, Leong T, Kiraly DD, Goodman E, Neve RL, Shen L, Nestler EJ. Science. 2017 Jun 16;356(6343):1185-1188. doi: 10.1126/science.aan4491.
The linkage between stress early in life and behavioral depression in adulthood is complex. Peña et al. were able to define a time period in early development when mice are especially susceptible to stress.
Circuit-wide Transcriptional Profiling Reveals Brain Region-Specific Gene Networks Regulating Depression Susceptibility
Bagot RC, Cates HM, Purushothaman I, Lorsch ZS, Walker DM, Wang J, Huang X, Schlüter OM, Maze I, Peña CJ, Heller EA, Issler O, Wang M, Song WM, Stein JL, Liu X, Doyle MA, Scobie KN, Sun HS, Neve RL, Geschwind D, Dong Y, Shen L, Zhang B, Nestler EJ. Neuron. 2016 Jun 1;90(5):969-83. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.04.015. Epub 2016 May 12.
Meet the Team
Research Laboratory Manager
Angélica Torres Berrío
Emily (Gracie) Peck