Rafael Perez

Rafael Perez

Pharmacology

PI: Danny Winder, Ph.D.

Neural Mechanisms that Underlie Relapse of Cocaine Addiction

‪My research focuses on investigating the role of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) on relapse of cocaine addiction. The BNST, a brain region that is critical for stress and anxiety responses, shows alterations in neurotransmission following long-term cocaine use. Currently, I am investigating the interaction between the stress sensitive neurotransmitters norepinephrine and corticotrophin releasing factor within the BNST of naïve and cocaine-exposed animals. I am using a combination of electrophysiological, molecular, and pharmacological approaches to assess this interaction. This work will further our understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie how stress induces addiction and relapse.