Dopaminergic signaling and food intake.
Kevin Erreger's research focus is the study of the dopamine transporter and of dopaminergic signaling in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that plays important roles in movement coordination, attention, and motivation. Dopamine is also closely associated with reward-seeking behaviors, such as approach, consumption, and addiction. Imbalances in dopamine neurotransmission have been implicated in brain diseases including substance abuse and addiction, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism. Erreger studies the molecular signals induced by dopamine and how they are regulated by psychostimulants that can be either abused drugs or therapeutic treatments for diseases such as ADHD. There is an emerging focus on how signals related to food intake can influence the brain. Projects in progress include studying how peptides regulating food intake alter dopamine in the brain and may impact learning, memory, and addiction.