Imaging dopamine signaling in addictive disorders
Understanding how and why certain individuals have a greater propensity to develop addictive behaviors remains a major challenge in neuroscience. Our lab is interested in investigating the risk factors and underlying neural correlates conferring a predisposition to addictive disorders (drug and behavioral addictions) and related neuropsychiatric illnesses. More specifically, we focus on understanding the contribution and interplay of behavioral trait variables considered important in the psychopathologies of addictions - impulsivity, novelty seeking and risky-decision making – and neurochemical dysregulationsof themesocorticolimbic dopamine system to the development of addictive disorders. We use a cross-species translational approach combining behavioral testing with in vivo molecular imaging techniques (SPECT and PET) in human and comparable animal models, associated with pharmacological and genetic tools in rodents.