Dartmouth Events

Psychological and Brain Sciences Colloquium

Veronica Alvarez, PhD, National Institutes of Mental Health

Thursday, November 2, 2023
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Moore Hall B03
Intended Audience(s): Alumni, Faculty, Postdoc, Staff, Students-Graduate, Students-Undergraduate
Categories: Arts and Sciences, Lectures & Seminars

Please join us in Moore BO3 next week on Thursday, November 2, 2023, starting at 1:05 p.m., for a colloquium given by Veronica Alvarez, Senior Investigator, Section on Neurobiology of Compulsive Behaviors at National Institutes of Health.  Title and abstract are below.

Title: Insights into the Brain Mechanisms of Substance Abuse Vulnerability

Abstract:  A key aspect of substance use disorders (SUD) is that only a fraction of the individuals who consume addictive substances eventually develop the disorder. Thus, while exposure to such substances is necessary, it alone is not sufficient to trigger the disorder. Understanding what makes certain individuals more susceptible to substance use disorders poses a main challenge for researchers in the addiction field and may hold profound implications for prevention and treatment strategies.

Our working hypothesis is that the development of compulsive behaviors towards addictive substances results from the interplay between the substance’s pharmacological effects and the individual’s biology. Within this framework, our research in rodents aims to identify the circuit and synaptic mechanisms that contribute to the vulnerability to substance abuse. Specifically, this presentation will delve into our findings concerning alcohol consumption and its anxiolytic effects in mice.  We explore the hypothesis that a robust anxiolytic response to alcohol enhances its reinforcing properties, thus rending certain individuals more susceptible to the development of compulsive behaviors and alcohol misuse.

Coffee, tea, and cider donuts will be available before and after the talk in the foyer space outside of BO3.

For more information, contact:
Michelle Powers

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.