Centanni Lab

Neurobiology of stress and alcohol use disorder

Stress and negative emotional states are often cited as one of the major factors in initiating a substance use disorder. These same feelings can drive cravings and relapse in recovering individuals, highlighting the gripping relationship between addiction and negative affect. What are the brain circuits regulating affective behavior and how does dysfunction in these circuits drive relapse? The overall aim of the Centanni Lab is to address these questions by taking an innovative, unbiased approach to delineate the complex neuronal control networks governing negative affect associated with stress and alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Strategic Goals

  1. Identify unique pathways using intact whole-brain imaging with sophisticated viral tracing strategies, and unbiased cell counting and brain region assignment
  2. Correlate circuit activity and negative affective behavior in disease states using an array of activity sensors with in vivo fiber photometry, and high throughput machine learning-based behavioral categorization
  3. Characterize dysfunctions at the synapse level by combining optogenetic, chemogenetic, and pharmacological manipulation with ex vivo electrophysiological and protein/RNA analysis.
  4. Perform interventional studies to mitigate dysfunctional circuitry in AUD and negative affective disorders
    This new dynamic framework will facilitate the development and implementation of novel diagnostic tools and circuit-based treatment strategies for AUD and negative affective disorders.

Stay Connected with the Lab

The Centanni Lab is located at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC