Mentor: Dr. Adriaan Bruijnzeel
College of Medicine
"I applied to the University Scholars program for an opportunity to continue my research with my mentor Dr. Adriaan Bruijnzeel in his addiction research laboratory. I hope that my learning experience continues while in his lab. Specifically, I hope to learn more about the drug mechanism involved with addiction, in particular nicotine. My goals for the academic year are to learn as much as I possibly can about psychopharmacology and nicotine's effect on the rodent brain. I look forward to presenting my research findings via poster board presentations and scholarly papers."
Food Science and Human Nutrition
Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society
Golden Key International Honor Society
Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society
National Society for Collegiate Scholars 2009-2013
Hobbies and Interests
The Role of CRF1 and CRF2 Receptors of the Basolateral Amygdala in Dysphoria Associated with Nicotine Withdrawal in a Rat Model
Sudden cessation of tobacco smoke has been associated with negative affective symptoms in humans such as increased anxiety, depressed mood, and somatic complaints. Previous research indicates that the negative affective state associated with nicotine withdrawal contributes to the continuation of tobacco smoking. In rodents, cessation of chronic nicotine administration induces both affective and somatic withdrawal signs. The group of cells within the lateral, basal and accessory basal nuclei of the amygdala, referred to as the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is critical in establishing the emotional salience of environmental stimuli integral in both stress, anxiety, and reward behavior. Corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) is a neuropeptide that has been implicated in the behavioral and physiological responses to stressors. Withdrawal from drugs of abuse results in an enhanced release of CRF in the amygdala. Two CRF receptors have been found, the CRF1 and CRF2 receptor. Evidence suggests that stress-induced psychopathology and drug withdrawal-induced behavioral and physiological changes are at least partly mediated by CRF acting at CRF1 receptors. Antagonistic drugs (R278995/CRA0450 and antisauvagine-30/urocortin 3) for both the CRF1 and CRF2 receptors will be used to monitor the resulting symptoms in a rodent model. The intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) procedure will be used to measure the negative affective symptoms of nicotine withdrawal as this procedure provides a quantitative measure of the affective aspects of nicotine withdrawal experiments will be conducted to determine if blockade of CRF1 receptors or stimulation / blockade of CRF2 receptors in the BLA reverse footshock-induced reinstatement of nicotine seeking behavior. A better understanding of the role of CRF within the basolateral amygdala in mediating the dysphoria associated with tobacco smoking cessation and stress induced relapse to tobacco smoking behavior may contribute to the development of novel treatments for tobacco addiction.