Contact Information

  • Office: 301.443.2445
  • Fax: +1-301-480-8035

Overview of the Lab

Research in the Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience (LIN) examines the role of particular molecules in control of actions, acute alcohol intoxication, alcohol seeking behavior, alcohol use disorder and habitual behavior. Another aim of research in LIN is to examine the molecular mechanisms of synaptic modulation and plasticity related to action and habit learning. An important unifying theme of research within LIN is investigation of forebrain mechanisms involved in aspects of cognition and behavioral control that contribute to addiction. We seek to understand the neural basis of addiction-related brain functions such as decision-making, goal-directed behavior, habit formation and habitual behavior. We are also examining mechanisms underlying specific responses to addictive drugs, including acute intoxication and neural adaptations to chronic drug exposure, such as tolerance and dependence. Gaining an understanding of these functions will necessarily involve determining which neural circuits mediate these processes, what physiological and synaptic mechanisms underlie circuit function and plasticity, and what neural and synaptic molecules play key parts in synaptic, neuronal and circuit function. We believe that these goals can best be achieved by bringing together investigators with a shared interest in these subjects and with diverse technological expertise so that we can approach the problem at multiple levels of analysis.

We envision that the shared interests of investigators from LIN and other NAAA laboratories and the interactive nature of these laboratories, will allow different investigators to combine their expertise in the analysis of neural function at multiple levels. For example, changes in addiction-related behavior in a particular mouse model can be examined in conjunction with analysis of neuronal morphology, signaling in subcellular compartments, and neural circuit function at the micro and macro levels. Examination of molecular expression, location and function can also be applied in the same animals. Ultimately, this should allow us to gain a thorough understanding of the way in which particular neuronal molecules contribute to cellular and circuit functions that ultimately influence behavior. We also envision that interactions and collaborations with other NIAAA and NIH laboratories will enhance our ability to analyze these neural functions from the molecule to the whole mouse.

One theme that brings together the different lines of research within LIN is an interest in mechanisms of addiction and habitual behavior. We predict that gaining a better understanding of synaptic plasticity in cortical-basal ganglia networks will help us to better appreciate how information relevant to habit formation becomes encoded. Our overarching hypothesis is that effects of addictive substances on synaptic structure and transmission will interface with natural plasticity mechanisms to focus habits on drugs of abuse as well as associated stimuli and responses. Thus, understanding the neural basis of habit formation and the molecular actions of intoxicating/addictive substances will allow us to gain a more thorough understanding of addiction. Ultimately, it is hoped that these lines of research can contribute to development of better therapies for neurological disorders and alcoholism.


Scientific images of cell components in flourescent colors


Selected Publications

  1. Johnson KA, Mateo Y, Lovinger DM. Metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 inhibits thalamically-driven glutamate and dopamine release in the dorsal striatum. Neuropharmacology 117: 114-123, 2017
  2. Abrahao KP, Chancey JH, Chan CS, Lovinger DM. Ethanol-sensitive pacemaker neurons in the mouse external globus pallidus. Neuropsychopharmacology 42:1070-1081, 2017
  3. Gremel CM, Chancey JH, Atwood BK, Luo G, Neve R, Ramakrishnan C, Deisseroth K, Lovinger DM, Costa RM. Endocannabinoid modulation of orbitostriatal circuits gates habit formation. Neuron 90: 1312-1324, 2016
  4. Salinas AG, Davis MI, Lovinger DM, Mateo Y. Dopamine dynamics and cocaine sensitivity differ between striosome and matrix compartments of the striatum. Neuropharmacology 108:275-283, 2016
  5. Pava MJ, Makriyannis A, Lovinger DM. Endocannabinoid signaling regulates sleep stability. PLoS One 11:e0152473, 2016
  6. Kupferschmidt DA, Lovinger DM. Inhibition of presynaptic calcuim transients in cortical inputs to the dorsolateral striatum by metabotropic GABA(B) and mGlu2/3 receptors. Journal of Physiology 593:2295-23102015
  7. Kupferschmidt DA, Cody PA, Lovinger DM, Davis MI. Brian BLAQ: Post-hoc thick-section histochemistry for localizing optogenetic constructs in neurons and their distal terminals. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 9:6, 2015
  8. Sgobio C, Kupferschmidt DA, Cui G, Sun L, Li z, Cai H, Lovinger DM. Optogenetic measurement of presynaptic calcium transients using conditional genetically encoded calcuim indicator expression in dopaminergic neurons. ​PLoS One 9:e111749, 2014

Other Lab Resources



Matthew Pava, PhD - Research Scientist in the Advanced Technology Laboratories, Lockheed Martin

Brady Atwood, PhD - Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Indiana University

Christina Gremel, PhD - Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Califorina at San Diego

Guohong Cui, MD, PhD - Prinicipal Investigator, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences 

Brian Mathur, PhD - Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, University of Maryland

Verginia C. Cuzon Carlson, PhD -  Assistant Scientist, Oregon National Primate Research Center

Xin Jin, PhD - Assistant Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Sang Beom Jun, PhD - Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Ewha University, Seoul 

Giuseppe Talani, PhD - Research Assistant Professor, University of Cagliari,

Sardinia, Italy

Louise Adermark, PhD - Reseach Assistant Professor, University of Goteborg

, Sweden 

Henry Yin, PhD - Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience/Neurobiology, Duke University

Graduate students

Jennifer Ronesi, PhD - Postdoctoral fellow, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Russell Morton - George Washington University 


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