Our Research Interests
Drug addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and taking, and a high likelihood of relapse when exposed to drugs or drug-associated cues. Cocaine is a commonly abused drug, and current medications do not meet the urgent needs for treating ongoing cocaine use, relapse or acute emergencies that result from cocaine overdose.
Our long-term research interest is to understand mechanisms underlying drug addiction and to find possible treatment. We use behavioral, genetic, anatomical and molecular biological methods. One major research project is to identify mechanisms and neuronal circuits associated with reconsolidation and extinction of cocaine-induced reward memory. Another project is to develop a novel method of using skin stem cells to deliver therapeutic genes to combat the abuse of cocaine, ethanol, nicotine and their co-abuse.