Jeff Weiner, Ph.D.
The focus in Dr. Jeff Weiner's laboratory is to study the neurobiological mechanisms that contribute to the development of abusive alcohol drinking behavior and alcoholism. Many of his projects employ rodent models along with state-of-the-art patch clamp electrophysiological techniques to study the acute and long term effects of alcohol on synaptic transmission in brain regions that are thought to play an important role in alcohol addiction, such as the hippocampus and nucleus accumbens. He also employs rodent models of ethanol self-administration to try to identify behavioral and synaptic correlates associated with alcohol-drinking behaviors. Collectively, the goals of these studies are to identify novel synaptic elements that may be associated with increased risk of developing abusive drinking behavior and to determine if they may be appropriate targets for the development of more effective pharmacotherapies for the treatment of alcoholism. This research focus will provide MARC students assigned to him with the opportunity to obtain exposure to a wide range of behavioral and electrophysiological approaches that are commonly used in drug and alcohol abuse research. Current projects involve the use of transgenic knock-in mice, rat operant self-administration paradigms, extracellular electrophysiological recording techniques as well as a wide range of whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiological procedures (evoked, spontaneous, miniature synaptic current analysis).