These studies will determine how the activity of the brain reward area called “ventral tegmental area” is modulated by specific inputs from another brain reward area called “lateral habenula”. To dissect the role of these inputs, we will use the technique of optogenetics, whereby specific inputs can be activated by brief pulses of light. Experiments will be performed both in baseline conditions and in a rat model of addiction. These studies will provide novel insight on brain circuits modulating reward and addiction.
Michela Marinelli, Ph.D.