Research & Publications
As our name suggests, our research focuses on addiction, aggression, and the
intersection between the two.
What is the value of dopamine release?
We are using the principles of behavioral economics, combined with the latest methods for recording and manipulating dopamine neurons, to study how dopamine reinforces behavior. By understanding how particular patterns of dopamine release, in both time and space, translate to behavior, we hope to pinpoint the vulnerabilities that cause addiction, and ultimately develop patches for them.
How do neuromodulators influence aggression?
Over the last 100 years, there has been remarkable progress understanding the final common neural pathway for aggression. Little is known, however, about the upstream circuits that constrain this behavior. We're investigating the role of dopamine and serotonin in aggression, pairing sophisticated machine learning/artificial intelligence algorithms to classify social behaviors with newly-developed sensors that reveal neuromodulator dynamics in real time.
What are the neural circuits of frustration?
One of the most reliable triggers of aggression is frustration, or failing to achieve an expected reward. In turn, low frustration tolerance is one of the most prevalent and impairing symptoms of disorders as disparate as PTSD, bipolar disorder, and autism. Yet the neurobiology of frustration is almost entirely unknown. Our approach combines reward conditioning with social behavior to probe how striatal circuits determine our response to frustration.
For a full list of publications and citations, please see
Dr. Eshel's Google scholar page