NEUROBIOLOGY OF STRESS AND ADDICTION
Vulnerability to stress-related disorders such as anxiety, depression, and addiction can vary with sex and gender. This may be driven by sex differences in brain structure, chemistry, and circulating hormones. Adolescence is a period of neural plasticity during which stressful experiences and exposure to substances such as alcohol may modulate endocrine systems, thus interfering with normal neural remodeling and development of sexually dichotomous behaviors.
Our research uses rodent models to investigate the neural, hormonal, and behavioral determinants of addiction, and how susceptibility to stress-related disorders may be shaped around the time of birth and during adolescent development.