Rafael Perez

Rafael Perez

Graduate Student, Winder laboratory

BS, York College of Pennsylvania (2013)


My research focuses on understanding the role of adrenergic signaling within the extended amygdala in stress-induced relapse of cocaine seeking. Stress is often cited as a precipitating factor in cocaine relapse. Compounds that decrease stress and anxiety by targeting adrenergic receptors, such as beta-blockers and alpha 2a adrenergic receptor agonists, show some efficacy in clinical trials. However, the neuronal substrates responsible for the beneficial effects of these compounds remains unknown. To address this gap in knowledge I am using a combination of behavioral pharmacology, genetic, and biochemical approaches to investigate the role of adrenergic receptors in the extended amygdala in cocaine and stress-exposed animals treated with adrenergic ligands.