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Current Projects

The molecular underpinnings of learning-related plasticity

Rosa Isabel Caamaño Tubío and her team (Erin Warren) are examining NMDA-mediated learning in the nucleus accumbens, with the aim of discovering the intra-cellular events that lead to learning-related plasticity in nucleus accumbens neurons.Currently, they are examining the effects of intra-nucleus accumbens infusions of an NMDA antagonist drug on the acquisition of a simple tone-food association (conditioned approach paradigm).

 

Nucleus accumbens coding of reward expectation. Neuropharmacology and electrophysiology.

Veronica Dobrovitsky and her team (Gabriela Canales and Miguel Briones) are testing the hypothesis that dopamine transmission at D1 receptors within the nucleus accumbens sets the threshold for reward expectation (generated by conditioned stimuli associated with varying probabilities of reward delivery) to generate behavioral approach responses. In collaborative studies conducted at Rutgers University, Mark West and his colleagues are testing the complementary hypothesis that the fining rate of individual nucleus accumbens neurons codes for reward expectation magnitude.