Michael Chojnacki, B.S.
“DREADD mediated inhibition of dorsal striatal D1 medium spiny neurons alters methamphetamine self-administration”
Michael’s lab has previously demonstrated that compulsive methamphetamine taking subjects express higher levels of D1 receptor in dorsal striatum. To further explore this, Michael has used inhibitory DREADD to examine the effect of D1 inhibition on methamphetamine taking behavior.
Post Bac Info: Michael attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he received a BS in Physiology and Neurobiology. At UMD, he worked in the Bely lab, studying the evolution of regeneration and development in annelid worms. Currently, he works in the Cadet lab, where he is studying the molecular mechanisms underlying methamphetamine addiction. To do this, he uses techniques such as PCR, western blotting, and chromatin immunoprecipitation.
Caitlyn Miller, B.S.
“Characterization of Fos-expressing neuronal ensembles in the prefrontal cortex following cocaine place conditioning using the Fos-tTA system”
The immediate early gene, Fos, can be used to identify strongly activated neurons within neuronal ensembles that encode learned associations between rewards and reward-predictive stimuli. Caitlyn uses Fos-tTA transgenic mice in combination with AAV-mediated TRE-dependent gene expression, allowing us to identify, characterize, and eventually manipulate Fos ensemble neurons involved in the learned association between context and a cocaine reward developed through cocaine conditioned place preference (CPP).
Post Bac Info: Caitlyn obtained her BS in Biology at Penn State and was a post-baccalaureate fellow in the Hope lab in 2017, where she worked with Leslie Whitaker studying the electrophysiological alterations in Fos-expressing neuronal ensembles following reward-based associative learning using novel chemogenetic and transgenic tools. Caitlyn is currently a post-baccalaureate fellow in the Ex vivo electrophysiology core (EVEC) at NIDA IRP, NIH and is also a student in the Johns Hopkins Masters in Biotechnology Program.