Rebecca Loveless

Rebecca Loveless
Mentor: Dr. Joanna Peris
College of Pharmacy
 
"I have always been interested in finding out about the different aspects of pharmacy. I wanted to be involved with research to learn about the process of drug discovery, development, and testing. Pharmacy research is a field I am interested in pursuing as a possible career opportunity, and I wanted to start as soon as possible. Dr. Peris was very welcoming and helpful as I began my work, and it made me want to become even more involved."

Major

Biology

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Addiction
  • Neurophysiology

Academic Awards

  • Scholarship from the Kiwanis Club of Miami, FL (2012)
  • University Scholars Award (2014)

Organizations

  • Student National Pharmaceutical Association
  • Pre-Pharmacy Society

Volunteer

  • Vacation Bible School at Old Cutler Presbyterian Church in Miami, FL

Hobbies and Interests

  • Running
  • Reading
  • Working with children
  • Pharmacy observing

Research Description

Mechanisms of Ethanol Addiction

Addcition of all kinds is of growing importance in today's society, and developing a possible cure for addiction or a deterrent for using drugs of abuse could have a huge impact in millions of peoples' lives. In Dr. Peris's pharmacodynamics lab, I work alongside other undergraduates, pharmacy students, and graduate students studying ethanol addiction in laboratory animals. We are also studying the anatomy and physiology of the brain in regions where dopamine and oxytocin receptors are located, determining the connection between these pathways. During the summer of 2014, we studied the effect of oxytocin administration on rats' alcohol consumption in a three-bottle choice study, where rats had access to plain saccharin solution, 10% ethanol in saccharin, and 15% ethanol in saccharin. From our preliminary data analysis, it is apparent that certain doses of oxytocin decrease ethanol consumption. We plan to continue this type of research in mice during the fall semester. We also will possibly start conditioned place preference studies to further examine the effects of ethanol in these animals (see: Drug-Induced Conditioned Place Preference and Aversion in Mice, Cunningham et al 2006). This research will hopefully provide insight into the neurochemical mechanisms of addiction, and will allow for further research on this subject.