Vidhya Kumaresan, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics

Research Interests

Dr. Kumaresan’s overall research objective is to study neuronal activity-dependent plasticity and its relevance for brain disorders. The current focus of Dr. Kumaresan’s research is to understand the neurobiological bases of addiction to psychostimulants. Recidivism to drug abuse is a major hurdle in the successful treatment of addiction. Illicit drug use usurps neural circuits involved in survival enhancing behaviors. The goal is to elucidate the cellular and molecular underpinnings of drug-induced enduring neural plasticity in these circuits using a combination of behavioral, cellular and molecular approaches. In particular, Dr. Kumaresan employs a novel approach of using cell-permeable peptides that disrupt protein-protein interactions in vivo in order to study ongoing behavior. These approaches are expected to lead to successful treatment of relapse precipitated by drug re-exposure, drug-associated cues and stress. Knowledge gained from these studies will also be applicable to the treatment of other brain dysfunctions involving persistent memories such as PTSD.

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