Member: Institute for Neuroscience
CV | Scholar | Lab Website
- Neurocircuitry of addiction and relapse
- Role of neural stress systems in cue-induced drug seeking
- Neuronal subpopulations within motivation-related structures
My primary research interests are the neurobiological mechanisms of drug addiction and the compulsive behaviors and maladaptive habits associated with this psychiatric disorder. A central theme of my research thus far has been investigating the neurocircuitry and transmitter systems underlying cue-induced drug seeking. Drug-associated cues are known to be powerful triggers of relapse in addicts and are capable of driving reinstatement of drug seeking in animal models as well. I am interested in exploring how drug-associated cues become such powerful motivators during the addiction process. The lab uses animal models of addiction, including the rodent self-administration paradigm. We analyze behavior, neurotransmission, neurocircuitry, and genetic expression related to addiction, and we utilize virus technologies for optogenetic, DREADD, and anatomical tracing studies.
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2014-2016, R21 Cutting Edge Basic Research Award, “Opposing roles of distinct output projections from prefrontal cortex”, NIDA, Principal Investigator
Smith RJ, Aston-Jones G (2014) Incentive learning for morphine-associated stimuli during protracted abstinence increases conditioned drug preference. Neuropsychopharmacology 39(2): 373-9.
Smith RJ, Lobo MK, Spencer S, Kalivas PW (2013) Cocaine-induced adaptations in D1 and D2 accumbens projection neurons (a dichotomy not necessarily synonymous with direct and indirect pathways). Curr Opin Neurobiol 23(4):546-52.
Smith RJ, Aston-Jones G (2012) Orexin/hypocretin 1 receptor antagonist reduces heroin self-administration and cue-induced heroin seeking. Eur J Neurosci 35(5):798-804.
Mahler SV, Smith RJ, Moorman DE, Sartor GC, Aston-Jones G (2012) Multiple roles for orexin/hypocretin in addiction. Prog Brain Res 198:79-121.
Smith RJ, Aston-Jones G (2011) Alpha-2 adrenergic and imidazoline receptor agonists prevent cue-induced cocaine seeking. Biol Psych 70(8):712-9.
Aston-Jones G, Smith RJ, Moorman DE, Richardson KA (2009) Role of lateral hypothalamic orexin neurons in reward processing and addiction. Neuropharmacology 56:112-121.
Smith RJ, Aston-Jones G (2008) Noradrenergic transmission in the extended amygdala: role in increased drug-seeking and relapse during protracted drug abstinence. Brain Struct Funct 213:43-61.
Accepting Students Fall 2018