Donita Robinson

Dr. Donita L. Robinson investigates the neurobiology of alcoholism by using animal models of alcohol reward.  Her research targets the dorsal and ventral striata, brain regions that have been shown in humans and animals to be active at alcohol reward and craving or drug-seeking induced by alcohol-related cues.  She examines striatal physiology in real time while rats self-administer alcohol: phasic (subsecond) dopamine release is evaluated by using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, and firing patterns of striatal neurons are evaluated by using electrophysiology at multi-electrode arrays.  Together, these approaches reveal the timing of dopamine release and the specificity of neuronal activity at the presentation of alcohol-associated cues, during alcohol-seeking behavior, and at alcohol drinking.