Neurophysiology of Addiction and Affective Disorders
The goal of the Pleil Lab at Weill Cornell is to identify and characterize the neural circuit mechanisms of the development and maintenance of addiction to alcohol and drugs of abuse and comorbid mood disorders. To do this, we investigate two overlapping areas: 1) peptide signaling within discrete limbic brain circuits and 2) mechanisms of sex differences in these circuits and corresponding behaviors, including contributions by genes and modulation by the signaling of sex hormones. Approaches to answering these questions include a number of complementary molecular, physiological, and behavioral techniques, including neuronal tracing, in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, slice electrophysiology, and in vivo and ex vivo optogenetics and chemogenetics. These techniques allow us to analyze neural circuit mechanisms at the anatomical, molecular, cellular, synaptic, circuit, and behavioral levels.