Two University of Michigan professors will study addiction-related behaviors among rats in an effort that will further research on understanding substance abuse by people.

Terry Robinson, the Elliot S. Valenstein Distinguished University Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, and Shelly Flagel, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and at the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, were given a five-year, $1.5 million research grant to conduct the study.

The two are participating in a new national Center of Excellence at the University of Chicago, which is funded by a $12 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The U-M project, which is called the "Genetic Studies of Incentive Salience," is one of four initial projects supported by the center.

According to a news release, Robinson and Flagel will conduct a series of studies to investigate the genetic basis for individual differences in reward-seeking behavior and other traits related to addiction.

They have a rat model that allows them to study how reward-associated cues can lead to behaviors that contribute to substance abuse.

The two have done previous work with rats, which has shown that the animals differ in how they respond to stimuli in the environment associated with reward.


Read the full article "$1.5M grant awarded to U-M professors to study genetics of drug abuse in rats" at the Ann Arbor News.