- Research Program Mentor
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Neuroscience, addiction, evolutionary biology
Seeing the future: genetic contributions to Alzheimer's Disease
Taking care of an elderly loved one who has Alzheimer's Disease is emotionally difficult for many reasons, one of which can be the anxiety that you will one day suffer from the same condition they are. Some cases of Alzheimer's seem to be hereditary, while others do not. What are the differences between these types of the disease, and what do we know about the genes that affect Alzheimer's risk? How can this knowledge help family members prepare and scientists develop treatments?
Reward and Punishment: how a necessary evolutionary mechanism can hijack the brain
The reward system is part of the brain that teaches us what behavior we should repeat. It makes sure that we have motivation to eat, to reproduce, to sleep, to drink water, to exercise. But for some people, their reward systems teach them to be motivated for the wrong things: sometimes drugs of abuse, or behavior that is counterproductive. How can we use our knowledge of the reward system to help people suffering from disorders like addiction or ADHD?