WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON
Work in the Crowley Lab focuses on understanding behavioral and physiological brain states involved in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and addiction. We use a combination of behavioral, electrophysiological, and genetic approaches to inform the basic science of disease etiology, treatment, and prevention.
INVESTIGATION OF THE ROLE OF SOMATOSTATIN NEURONS IN ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
FUNDED BY THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ALCOHOLISM, NARSAD YOUNG INVESTIGATOR GRANT (BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION) & THE SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH INSTITUTE (PENN STATE)
Alcoholism and major depressive disorder (MDD) are highly comorbid disorders, both of which are major health and social concerns—costing the US a combined $300 billion each year. Homeostatic perturbations in neuronal systems are thought to underlie both alcoholism and MDD, and interestingly, important sex differences are seen in both diseases, with women being more likely to suffer depression and more likely to suffer from the negative long-term consequences of drinking.
Intervention strategies that target specific brain regions or groups of neurons holds the promise of treatments with fewer side effects, resulting in greater adherence to treatment and fewer social complications. In order to create such treatments, the field needs a deeper understanding of the brain regions and even specific neurons within the region. Funded by the Penn State Social Science Research Institute, this project seeks to identify, in both mice and humans, the role of specific types of neurons in the overlapping etiology of depression and alcohol addiction in both males and females.
Ongoing work in the lab combines optogenetics, chemogenetics, behavior, and electrophysiology to understand how stomatostatin neurons throughout the brain may play a role in binge drinking.
Dr. Patrick Drew, Associate Professor of Neural Engineering and Neural Surgery, Penn State
INVESTIGATION OF KEY OPIOID PATHWAYS MODULATED BY ADOLESCENT CHRONIC VARIABLE STRESS
FUNDED BY THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ALCOHOLISM, THE CLINICAL AND TRANSLATIONA SCIENCES INSTITUTE, THE SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH INSTITUTE, AND THE CONSORTIUM TO COMBAT SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Adolescent stress is a key risk factor for drug abuse in adulthood. Though many maladaptive and drug-addiction related outcomes following stress are known, it is unclear precisely how the brain is altered following stress to escalate drug addiction. Accumulating evidence indicates that adolescent stress causes changes in the developing limbic and cortical structures in the brain, regions heavily involved in the progression of drug intake to drug abuse. This project outlines the consequences of adolescent stress on the brain's neurotransmitter systems and their interactions with opioid receptors.
Dr. Helen Kamens, Health and Human Development
Dr. Kevin Alloway, College of Medicine