The Saddoris Lab is primarily focused on understanding the neuroscience of learning and goal-directed behavior. Because the world is a highly dynamic place, animals are tasked with finding stimuli in their environments that will adaptively allow them to obtain rewarding outcomes (such as food or mates) while avoiding dangerous situations (such as predators). A set of neural structures known as the limbic system, which includes the prefrontal cortex, amygdala and nucleus accumbens, form a highly interconnected circuit of structures that coordinate activity to support adaptive learning. By using a combination of techniques (e.g., electrophysiology, voltammetry, optogenetics) in combination with a variety of behaviors, we are working to understand how circuits of neural structures allow new information to be learned and altered through experience and especially following prolonged experience with drugs of abuse.
beahvioral neuroscience, learning, drug abuse, electrophysiology, fast scan cyclic voltammetry