Bruce Thomas Hope, Ph.D. - Principal Investigators - The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

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PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

Photo of Dr. Bruce Hope

CONTACT ME

NIDA-IRP
251 Bayview Blvd
Suite 200, Room 06A719
Baltimore, MD 21224

Phone: 443-740-2585

bhope@mail.nih.gov

Bruce Thomas Hope, Ph.D., Investigator

Chief, Neuronal Ensembles in Drug Addiction

Post-doctoral Training – Laboratory of Molecular Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University (advisor: Dr. Eric Nestler)

Ph.D. – Neurological Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (thesis advisor: Dr. Steven R. Vincent)

B.Sc. – Biochemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

RESEARCH INTERESTS

When using drugs of abuse, learned associations are formed between the drugs and stimuli present in the drug-taking environment. With continued use, these stimuli can become cues that promote drug relapse. Our research is focused on figuring out how these memories are stored in the brain. We have identified sparsely distributed patterns of neurons in the brain called ‘neuronal ensembles’ that are selectively activated by drug-related cues and thought to encode the learned associations that mediate drug seeking behavior. Drug-related cues activate specific genes such as c-fos within these neuronal ensembles and allow us to identify them in the brain. We exploit the c-fos promoter to turn on different transgenes in transgenic rats that allow us to manipulate specific neuronal ensembles and assess their role in drug-related memories. We also developed a fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) procedure for purifying these activated ensembles and found unique molecular alterations within their cell bodies and synapses. We have developed novel c-fos-GFP transgenic rats that produce green fluorescent protein (GFP) in activated neurons and found unique synaptic alterations using slice electrophysiology. Using a combination of novel viruses and transgenic rats developed in collaboration with Dr. Brandon Harvey, we continue to search and characterize drug-related memory engrams in the brain that promote drug relapse.

Selected Publications:

View more publications at PubMed.

About Dr. Hope's...

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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