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Neural Circuits & Behavioral Control

We aim to understand the neural circuits that underlie motivated behaviors and behavioral control. We use molecular and genetic tools to visualize, manipulate, or control discrete neural circuit elements so that we may better define their roles in physiology, behavior & disease.

We focus on glutamate and dopamine neurotransmission and co-transmission in midbrain and basal ganglia circuits of particular importance to neuropsychiatric illness, including drug addiction and Parkinson’s disease.

See our Accomplishments
VTA triple transporter labeling

Techniques & Approaches

  • Genetically modified mice and viral vectors
  • Optogenetics
  • Chemogenetics
  • Behavioral assays
  • Patch-clamp electrophysiology
  • Fiber photometry
  • Immunohistochemistry & microscopy

Read Our Publications

Research Opportunities

Predoctoral / Undergraduate Students

BISP 199: Individual Research for Undergraduates offers undergraduates the opportunity to participate in research for academic credit. Students are expected to contribute 12–20 hours per week in lab.
How to Apply: Email Dr. Hnasko and provide a short statement of interests, resume, and transcripts.

Graduate Students

Join the lab through the Neurosciences and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs.
Masters students are accepted through the contiguous BS/MS Biological Sciences program.
How to Apply: Email Dr. Hnasko as soon as feasible to discuss a prospective laboratory rotation.

Postdoctoral Candidates

Competitive candidates will have at least one first-author publication and be competitive for postdoctoral fellowships.
How to Apply: Email Dr. Hnasko to inquire and include background, future goals, and interests.


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