Twin, family, adoption and other types of genetic investigations have determined that certain genetic and environmental factors increase risk for developing alcohol and drug use problems. We include mice in our research to study specific genes and genetic mechanisms for their impact on the development of alcohol and drug use problems. We develop animal models of drug use and drug effects, because we can control the drug exposure history of the animals and can alter gene sequence or gene expression to examine the consequences. A selective breeding procedure is used to create mouse lines that have very high or very low levels of a particular alcohol or drug-related trait. As a result, similar to human populations, offspring resemble their high- or low-scoring parents for these traits. However, some individuals exhibit unexpected behaviors that may be associated with effects of the external environment, and we are interested in this as well. Ultimately, our goal is to identify better treatments for alcohol and drug use disorders that could help those who become addicted to reduce their drug use and avoid relapsing. We believe that the identification of important genes and gene networks (interacting webs of genes) will help in the development of new and more effective therapeutic interventions. Activities that the intern might perform using mice include measuring alcohol or methamphetamine preference drinking or operant self-administration, measuring locomotor responses to drugs, measuring other behavioral responses to drugs such as the induction of or changes in anxiety-like or depression-like behavior, coordination, sedation, aversion, reward and body temperature change.
Applicants should be aware that on-site parking may be limited and/or unavailable throughout the summer; interns may be required to rely on public transit or alternative transportation. All are encouraged to apply for this internship, including females, minorities, first generation college-bound students, students from low income households, and students with a primary language other than English. However, applicants must be U.S. citizens.