Graduate Training in Neuroscience
University of Washington
Paul E. M. Phillips
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Adjunct, Department of Pharmacology
The key focus of our lab is to precisely define the role of dopamine neurotransmission in motivated behaviors and decision making, and to use this information to address how physiological processes that control this transmitter may alter behavior. A major component of our research is the study of rapid (phasic) dopamine transmission during addictive behaviors. One of the main tools we use is fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. This is a rapid electrochemical technique that can detect dopamine several times a second and chemically resolve it from other electroactive species. When used in awake rodents, this technique has been particularly useful for elucidating the precise temporal relationship between released dopamine and behavioral events. Since the temporal resolution is sufficient to capture chemical information on the physiological time scale, it is also well suited for studying the dynamics of the system and probing short-term presynaptic plasticity.