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Reviews to Read

June 2017 - Ventral tegmental area: cellular heterogeneity, connectivity and behaviour

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2017 Feb;18(2):73-85. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.165. Epub 2017 Jan 5. Review.

Morales M, Margolis EB.

Dopamine-releasing neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) have central roles in reward-related and goal-directed behaviours. VTA dopamine-releasing neurons are heterogeneous in their afferent and efferent connectivity and, in some cases, release GABA or glutamate in addition to dopamine. Recent findings show that motivational signals arising from the VTA can also be carried by non-dopamine-releasing projection neurons, which have their own specific connectivity...

You can read more about this paper on PubMed.

Photo of 2017 Mentoring Award winners (left to right): Geoffrey Schoenbaum, MD, PhD (Investigator Award); Lindsay De Biase, PhD (Postdoctoral Fellow Award); and Karran Phillips, MD (Staff Clinician Award).
2017 Mentoring Awardees

NIDA IRP NEWS!

Congratulations to the 2017 NIDA IRP Mentoring Award winners.

Award recipients are (left to right): Geoffrey Schoenbaum, MD, PhD (Investigator Award); Lindsay De Biase, PhD (Postdoctoral Fellow Award); and Karran Phillips, MD (Staff Clinician Award). They were presented with plaques at the 6th annual NIDA Poster Day and Mentoring Awards Ceremony on May 17, 2017.

The Mentoring Awards recognize individuals who have served as exceptional mentors to trainees in the institute, and are given annually in the spring.

More about our Research Training program here

Barry J. Hoffer Receiving the Award
Barry J. Hoffer Receiving the Award

NIDA IRP NEWS!

Barry J. Hoffer awarded Honorary Doctors of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki

Dr. Barry J. Hoffer, the former Scientific Director of the NIDA IRP, has been awarded an Honorary Doctors of the Faculty of Philosophy from the University of Helsinki for his lifelong work in neuropharmacology. The Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Helsinki confers distinguished persons from the fields of science, culture and society as honorary doctors each year May. Angela Merkel was also among this year's award recipients.

More information here

Agustin Zapata and Eun-Kyung Hwang

Agustin Zapata and Eun-Kyung Hwang
Featured paper of the Month!

June 2017 - Lateral Habenula Involvement in Impulsive Cocaine Seeking

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 Apr;42(5):1103-1112. doi: 10.1038/npp.2016.286. Epub 2016 Dec 27.

Zapata A, Hwang EK, Lupica CR.

The lateral habenula (LHb) is a brain structure involved in sleep control, reward-based decision making, avoidance of punishment, and responses to stress. Additional work has established that the LHb mediates negative feedback in response to aversive events. As a hallmark of drug addiction is the inability to limit drug use despite negative consequences, we hypothesize that LHb dysfunction may have a role in lack of control over drug seeking. We find that inhibition of the LHb did not alter suppression of cocaine self-administration in response to punishment nor cocaine’s reinforcing efficacy. However, LHb inhibition increased cocaine seeking when the drug was not available in rats trained to discriminate its presence using an environmental cue. This effect was mimicked by intra-LHb muscarinic cholinergic (mAch) antagonist injection, and activation of mACh receptors excited a majority of LHb neurons in in vitro electrophysiology experiments...

More about this paper on PubMed

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Reviews to Read

Computational approaches to detect allosteric pathways in transmembrane molecular machines

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Jul;1858(7 Pt B):1652-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2016.01.010. Epub 2016 Jan 22.

Stolzenberg S, Michino M, LeVine MV, Weinstein H, Shi L.

Many of the functions of transmembrane proteins involved in signal processing and transduction across the cell membrane are determined by allosteric couplings that propagate the functional effects well beyond the original site of activation. Data gathered from breakthroughs in biochemistry, crystallography, and single molecule fluorescence have established a rich basis of information for the study of molecular mechanisms in the allosteric couplings of such transmembrane proteins. The mechanistic details of these couplings...

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2017 WSA Award Winners.

NIDA IRP NEWS!

Congratulations to the 2017 Women Scientist Advisors Committee award winners at the NIDA IRP!

This year's winners at the NIDA IRP are Lindsay De Biase (Postdoctoral Fellow), Jayanthi Sankar (Staff Scientist) and Marisela Morales (Investigator). The winners were presented with trophies at the Biomedical Research Center this month.

The WSA awards recognize women scientists at NIDA for their scientific accomplishments.

Learn more about the Women Scientist Advisors Committee here.

Study authors William Rea, Ning Sheng Cai and Cesar Quiroz-Molina
William Rea, Ning Sheng Cai and
Cesar Quiroz-Molina
Featured paper of the Month!

May: Functional μ-Opioid-Galanin Receptor Heteromers in the Ventral Tegmental Area

J Neurosci. 2017 Feb 1;37(5):1176-1186. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2442-16.2016. Epub 2016 Dec 22.

Moreno E, Quiroz C, Rea W, Cai NS, Mallol J, Cortés A, Lluís C, Canela EI, Casadó V, Ferré S.

The ventral tegmental area (VTA) receives phenotypically distinct innervations from the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg). While PPTg-to-VTA inputs are thought to play a critical role in stimulus-reward learning, direct evidence linking PPTg-to-VTA phenotypically distinct inputs in the learning process remains lacking. Here, we used optogenetic approaches to investigate the functional contribution of PPTg excitatory and inhibitory inputs to the VTA in appetitive Pavlovian conditioning....

More about this paper on PubMed

Da-Ting Lin
Da-Ting Lin

NIDA IRP NEWS!

Congratulations to Da-Ting Lin for winning a 2016 Health and Human Services (HHS) Green Champion Award!

2016 Award for Sustainable Acquisitions - Individual
Dr. Da-Ting Lin has worked diligently as an Investigator to integrate sustainable practices into his research using in vivo optical imaging methods. He has prioritized energy conservation, financial savings, and protecting both human and environmental health through his work. He is conscious of the impact his research has on the environment and makes significant efforts to promote sustainability within laboratories. He has worked tirelessly to develop the miniScope imaging system which produces outstanding results while being budget conscious and energy efficient. He incorporated LEDs in the system, which are more environmentally sustainable compared to traditional lights. He is also innovative with protocols and avoids mercury in his work. He also promotes awareness of sustainability within the government through staff training and realizes the potential to encourage others to follow his example.

More information here

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Melissa J Sharpe
Hot off the Press!

Dopamine transients are sufficient and necessary for acquisition of model-based associations

Nat Neurosci. 2017 Apr 3. doi: 10.1038/nn.4538. [Epub ahead of print]

Melissa J Sharpe, Chun Yun Chang, Melissa A Liu, Hannah M Batchelor, Lauren E Mueller, Joshua L Jones, Yael Niv & Geoffrey Schoenbaum

Associative learning is driven by prediction errors. Dopamine transients correlate with these errors, which current interpretations limit to endowing cues with a scalar quantity reflecting the value of future rewards. We tested whether dopamine might act more broadly to support learning of an associative model of the environment. Using sensory preconditioning, we show that prediction errors underlying stimulus-stimulus learning can be blocked behaviorally and reinstated by optogenetically activating dopamine neurons. We further show that suppressing the firing of these neurons across the transition prevents normal stimulus-stimulus learning...

More about this paper on PubMed

Daniele Caprioli
Daniele Caprioli
Featured paper of the Month!

April: Role of Dorsomedial Striatum Neuronal Ensembles in Incubation of Methamphetamine Craving after Voluntary Abstinence

J Neurosci. 2017 Jan 25;37(4):1014-1027. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3091-16.2017.

Daniele Caprioli, Marco Venniro, Michelle Zhang, Jennifer M. Bossert, Brandon L. Warren, Bruce T. Hope, and Yavin Shaham

We recently developed a rat model of incubation of methamphetamine craving after choice-based voluntary abstinence. Here, we studied the role of dorsolateral striatum (DLS) and dorsomedial striatum (DMS) in this incubation. We trained rats to selfadminister palatable food pellets (6 d, 6 h/d) and methamphetamine (12 d, 6 h/d). We then assessed relapse to methamphetamine...

More about this paper at PubMed


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