The key focus of our lab is to precisely define the role of dopamine neurotransmission in behavior, and to use this information to address how molecular processes that control this transmitter may alter behavior. The main emphasis of our research is motivated behavior to which dopamine appears to be intimately linked. A particular interest is drug abuse - we are studying how substances of abuse alter the dopamine system, and in turn impact motivated behavior. Our investigations use traditional behavioral paradigms such as operant behavior and classical conditioning as well neuroeconomic approaches to study decision making. One of the main tools of the lab 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. This technique has been particularly useful for elucidating the precise temporal relationship between released dopamine and behavior, as well as probing the dynamics of the system. We combine these recordings with behavioral procedures (food and drug self-administration, decision making and classical conditioning), neuropharmacology (systemic administration and site-specific intracranial microinjections), viral-mediated gene delivery, intracranial electrical stimulation and computational modeling.