The goal of our research is to understand the sex differences in the relations between behavior and neuronal activity associated with the ascending dopamine projections to the striatum and nucleus accumbens.

Research on this topic has evolved into two major research themes: One theme investigates the role of ovarian hormone modulation of the striatum and accumbens in motivation in the female rat, while the second theme investigates sex differences in drug abuse.

Finally, we are interested in the mechanisms mediating the rapid effects of estradiol in the brain which are fundamental in the sex differences in motivated behaviors, and are particularly interested in the effects of estradiol on dopaminergic activity in nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum.