Lindsay Halladay is a neuroscientist studying in the Laboratory of Behavioral & Genomic Neuroscience at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Lindsay is trying to understand why people continue drinking alcohol despite negative outcomes from drinking alcohol.
0:17 My name is Lindsay Hallady and you are in the Laboratory of
0:21 Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience and that's part of NIAAA...
0:24 the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
0:30 I study the brain.
0:31 Specifically I study circuitry related to what makes people continue to drink
0:36 despite negative outcomes. Neither one of my parents are scientists,
0:42 but on an early age I think I really grew to like at the idea of science and
0:46 being able to
0:47 work in a lab coat in an exciting lab. But I did take one class,
0:51 which was a neuroscience class...my first one...and I was able to
0:55 within the class itself conduct studies with a laboratory that was run
0:59 by a
0:59 professor that actually studied cocaine... cocaine addiction,
1:02 which is pretty cool as an undergrad to be able to do that. And just seeing how exciting
1:07 it was to be in a laboratory and how exciting it is to discover new things
1:11 really turned me on to the idea of being a scientist. My day to day basis, I spend
1:15 most of my time
1:16 conducting experiments. So I'm in and out of the laboratory doing various things as
1:21 far as running
1:22 tasks or making chemicals, or looking under a microscope.
1:30 I conduct experiments were I record single cells in the brain to look at
1:34 what activity
1:35 cause one to seek alcohol and what...what we find rewarding.
1:39 And then I can go back and look at that data and I
1:42 align the cells with the events that happened and I can see which areas of the
1:47 talk to each other during certain tasks like
1:50 obtaining an alcohol reward. So what we're looking at here is a
1:53 unit reporting I did...so it's a recording of
1:56 an electrode put into the brain. And the electrode can pick up signals
2:00 of single cells. And so each color you see here represents the cells
2:05 waveform and what it is its the cell's action potential or when the cell fires.
2:08 So these individual cells can be aligned later to look at certain events
2:13 and so this cell for example...it might fire
2:16 when you receive an alcohol reward. So this would be an indication that this area
2:21 of your brain
2:22 cares about reward or cares about ethanol preference.
2:25 So I'm able to look at these different waveforms
2:29 and determine what the cells are doing in the brain.
2:32 I'm really excited about this job. It's not just one of those jobs where
2:36 you go through the motions. And you just get your paycheck and you're done.
2:39 Being a sports team my whole life...you know...I got good at
2:42 working as a team. I'm able to collaborate with colleagues better.
2:45 I learn from all these other experts that I work with. So I've learned a lot just being
2:49 in this setting.
2:50 So it's a great atmosphere. We all come in and we actually enjoy working with each
2:54 And it's really cool because in science you can make discoveries
2:57 everyday essentially.
3:18 A lot on the addiction research is focused on drugs like
3:22 cocaine and heroin,
3:23 which is very important, but there's actually not as much research and as much
3:26 funding to look at alcohol abuse,
3:29 which I think is a lot more prevalent in society.
3:32 Almost everyone I know drinks occasionally and it can become a problem
3:35 if you drink too or if you drink at the wrong time. And it's really important I think to
3:41 what causes people to keep drinking even those there's negative consequences.
3:45 So hopefully in the future we'll be able to
3:48 know exactly what parts of the brain may control those actions. When I was in
3:52 graduate school
3:53 my lab focused on anxiety. So I was looking at the circuitry controlling
3:57 anxiety behaviors. And then I was able to use the skills that I learned
4:01 there to transition into
4:02 alcohol abuse research. So just having the skills
4:06 that you learn along the way help you to decide what field you want to be in.
4:10 So you're not restricted to just one field as you initially
4:14 are raised in, but you can transfer those skills to...
4:17 to a number of different topics.