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, imaging, and genetic approaches to inform the basic science of disease etiology, treatment, and prevention. Our overarching focus is on neuropeptidergic modulation of discrete neural circuits and systems.

SOMATOSTATIN PEPTIDERGIC SIGNALING IN THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX

FUNDED BY NIAAA R21AA028088, NARSAD YOUNG INVESTIGATOR GRANT (BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION) 

Prefrontal cortex (PFC) interneurons expressing the neuropeptide somatostatin are implicated in the etiology of several psychiatric diseases. We are using a combination of electrophysiological, behavioral, chemogenetic, optogenetic, and imaging approaches to understand the wiring and firing of SST neurons - particularly as these properties relate to peptide release and transmisison.

Collaborators: 

Dr. Patrick Drew, Engineering Sciences and Mechanics, College of Engineering, PSU

ADOLESCENT ALCOHOL INDUCED CHANGES IN PFC FUNCTIONING

FUNDED BY THE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY DEVELOPMENTAL EXPOSURE TO ALCOHOL RESERACH CENTER (DEARC) P50 AWARD (P50AA017823) and the Physiological Adaptations to Stress T32 (GM108563)

Drug consumption during adolescents leads to unique changes in the developing brain not seen with adulthood drug use. Ongoing work on this project seeks to understand how adolescent alcohol consumption rewires signaling in the PFC - and what the long term ramifications of these changes are. 

INVESTIGATION OF KEY OPIOID PATHWAYS MODULATED BY ADOLESCENT CHRONIC VARIABLE STRESS

FUNDED BY THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ALCOHOLISM (L40AA026165), THE CLINICAL AND TRANSLATIONAL 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.

Collaborators:

 

Dr. Bruce Gluckman, Engineering Science and Mechanics, College of Engineering, PSU

 

Dr. Matt Hearing, Marquette University

Dr. Helen Kamens,  Biobehavioral Health, College Health and Human Development, PSU

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