Fields of Research
- Drug Discovery and Precision Medicine
- Molecular Basis of Psychiatric Disease
- Neurobiology and Behavior
The Chavkin Lab studies the molecular and behvioaral pharmacology of endogenous peptide transmitters in the context of stress, pain, addiction, and depression.
I utilize genetic, pharmacological, and optogenetic techniques to dissect specific mechanisms mediating stress sensitization to reward and aversion. More specifically, I interrogate how acute stress-induced activation of kappa opioid receptors (KOR) increases preference for drug and social interaction via modulation of serotonin tone and postsynaptic serotonin receptors within the brain’s reward circuitry. Additionally, I study how chronic stress-induced activation of KOR leads to depression-like behavior by sensitization to the aversive properties of stressors.
Awards and Honors
Abraham, A. D., Fontaine, H. M., Song, A. J., Andrews, M. M., Baird, M. A., Kieffer, B. L., … & Chavkin, C. (2018). .-opioid receptor activation in dopamine neurons disrupts behavioral inhibition. Neuropsychopharmacology, 43(2), 362.
Abraham, A. D., Schattauer, S. S., Reichard, K. L., Cohen, J. H., Fontaine, H. M., Song, A. J., … & Chavkin, C. (2018). Estrogen regulation of GRK2 inactivates kappa opioid receptor signaling mediating analgesia, but not aversion. Journal of Neuroscience, 38(37), 8031-8043.