One example of functional selectivity demonstrated by Eli Wallach in Sergio Leone’s classic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly can be found here. Pay particular attention from 2:38 (“That’s enough”) to 3:24 (“Cartridges”).

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The second paper from our lab on the effects of the antiepileptic drug, levetiracetam (Keppra), on alcohol-related behaviors in C57BL/6J mice has been accepted for publication in Behavioural Pharmacology. Eric Fish (formerly of the Malanga Lab, now in the Sulik Lab) and Abi Agoglia (Hodge Lab) were first and second authors. Michael Krouse (formerly of the Malanga Lab, now a medical student at VCU), Grant Muller (Malanga Lab), and Elliott Robinson (Malanga Lab) also contributed. This work, together with Elliott’s paper earlier this year in Neuropsychopharmacology, suggests that levetiracetam may have different effects on different individual patterns of alcohol drinking; and may have clinical utility in some patients with alcohol abuse disorders. Congratulations especially to Abi Agoglia on her (record-breaking) second publication from a single lab rotation!

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Our work on changes in dopaminergic, glutamatergic, and cholinergic behavioral pharmacology in Fmr1-null mice has been accepted for publication in PLoS ONE. Eric Fish (formerly of the Malanga Lab, now in the Sulik Lab) and Michael Krouse (formerly of the Malanga Lab, now a medical student at VCU) were first and second authors, respectively. Sierra Stringfield (Robinson Lab), Jeff DiBerto (Malanga Lab), and Elliott Robinson (Malanga Lab) also contributed. This work was made possible by funding from Autism Speaks.

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Elliott presented his data on the effects of the μ-opioid receptor (OPRM1) A118G polymorphism on alcohol- and opioid-related behaviors at the 2013 annual RSA meeting, June 22-26 in Orlando, FL. Check out Elliott’s poster here (and look for these findings in press in the near future).

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Our work on the divergent effects of the atypical anticonvulsant, levetiracetam (Keppra®), on alcohol and cocaine-related behaviors appeared as an advance online publication in the June 2013 issue of Neuropsychopharmacology. This work was the result of a collaboration between the Malanga and Hodge Laboratories in the UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies. Elliott Robinson (Malanga Lab), a graduate student in the UNC Neurobiology Curriculum and Medical Scientist Training Program, and Meng Chen, a postdoctoral researcher in the Malanga Lab, were first and second authors, respectively. Alice Stamatakis (Stuber Lab), Sara Faccidomo (Hodge Lab), Michael Krouse and Eric Fish (Malanga Lab) also contributed.

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C.J. gave a talk entitled “It’s Not Just for Drug Abuse Anymore: Investigating Mouse Models Relevant to Autism with ICSS” at the 2013 WCBR in Breckenridge, CO. Together with Andre Der-Avakian (UCSD), C.J. co-chaired the session, “Highs and Lows: Insights from the Intracranial Self-Stimulation Procedure about Normal and Abnormal Brain Reward Function in Neuropsychiatric Disorders.” Other presenters included Clayton Bauer (VCU) and Sandra Boye (Université de Montréal). The abstract for the session can be found here.

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In a news release this week, The Jackson Laboratory commented on our recent paper investigating dopaminergic circuitry in Angelman syndrome model mice published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (122(12): 4544-54, 2012 Dec 3). A link to the news piece, including a podcast of an interview with the PI, can be found on the JAX Notes webpage, here.

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Our Laboratory Manager, Michael Krouse, presented a poster titled “Neuropharmacology of Motivation and Reward in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome” at the 2012 annual SfN meeting in New Orleans, LA.  A copy of Michael’s poster can be found here:  Fragile X – SfN 2012

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A paper entitled “Pathway-specific dopaminergic deficits in a mouse model of Angelman syndrome” from the Malanga Lab was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (Impact Factor = 13.1). This work was the result of a collaboration between the Malanga Lab, the Philpot Lab in the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, and the Wightman Lab in the Department of Chemistry. Thorfinn Riday (Philpot Lab) and Elyse Dankoski (Wightman Lab), graduate students in the UNC Neurobiology Curriculum, were first and second authors, respectively. Eric Fish and Michael Krouse (Malanga Lab) also contributed.

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Our recent publication in Behavioural Brain Research comparing the behavioral effects of the “bath salt” mephedrone to those of cocaine was featured on the UNC School of Medicine Vital Signs webpage and received national and international attention. See the links below for press coverage.

UNC School of Medicine: http://www.med.unc.edu/neurology/news/synthetic-stimulants-called-2018bath-salts2019-act-in-the-brain-like-cocaine

In the United States: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/07/26/illegal-bath-salts-mimic-cocaine-in-the-brain-study

In the United Kingdom: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2178325/Meow-meow-Banned-bath-salts-effect-brain-way-cocaine.html

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