I use behavioral pharmacological methods to investigate how the endocannabinoid (eCB) system regulates anxiety-related behaviors. Specifically, my work focuses on cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2), and how this enzyme is involved in the modulation of mood and stress. Cox-2 is an inducible enzyme which inactivates neuronal eCBs, and can be induced during stress. Also, by targeting the neuronal expression of Cox-2 genetically, it is possible to regulate stress responses and anxiety-like behaviors in mice. Using both pharmacological and genetic approaches to build on previous work in our lab, my research shows that Cox-2 substrate-selective inhibitors can exert anxiolytic effects following stress exposure. My ongoing research uses behavioral, pharmacological, genetic, and functional neuroanatomical methods, as well as mass spectrometry, to define the role of Cox-2 in stress and anxiety modulation.
Postdoctoral Scholar, Patel Lab