Areas of Interest
My work focuses on the neurobiology of obesity, examining the effects of obesity and "junk-food diets" on changes in the mesocorticolimbic reward system. I utilize electrophysiological, behavioral, and biochemical techniques to understand differences in glutamatergic transmission within the nucleus accumbens that occur in response to high-fat, high-sugar diets. Additionally, this work investigates populations of rats that are vulnerable/resistant to obesity, providing insight into differences in motivated behavior and neurotransmission within the reward system. This research will further our understanding of mechanisms underlying motivated behavior for highly palatable food and allow for comparison to changes in the reward system that occur with drugs of abuse.