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From motivation to addiction

Almost all our actions are driven by motivation. Normally, motivation is the driving force behind adaptive behaviors. However, losing control over motivated behavior is detrimental and leads to one of the most devastating behavioral disorders – addiction. This may be true not only for drugs of abuse but for natural rewards like palatable food as well.
Our lab is interested in understanding the neurobiological processes that turn normal motivated behavior into an addiction. We investigate this by combining state-of-the-art tools with behavioral models of pathological motivation to target and manipulate specific circuits in the reward system and evaluate synaptic plasticity in drug addiction and overeating.