Ross A. McDevitt

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Excitatory afferents to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) are thought to facilitate reward seeking by encoding reward-associated cues. Selective activation of different glutamatergic inputs to the NAc can produce divergent physiological and behavioral responses, but mechanistic explanations for these pathway-specific effects are lacking. Here, we compared the(More)
Protein movements underlying ligand-gated ion channel activation are poorly understood. The binding of agonist initiates a series of conformational movements that ultimately lead to the opening of the ion channel pore. Although little is known about local movements within the GABA-binding site, a recent structural model of the GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A)R)(More)
Optogenetics-the use of optically activated proteins to control cell function-allows for control of neurons with an unprecedented degree of spatial, temporal, and neurochemical precision. Three protocols are presented in this unit describing the use of channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), a light-activated cation channel. These protocols emphasize practical issues of(More)
There have been significant advances in the treatment of psychiatric disease in the last half century, but it is still unclear which neural circuits are ultimately responsible for specific disease states. Fortunately, technical limitations that have constrained this research have recently been mitigated by advances in research tools that facilitate(More)
Afferent inputs to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) control reward-related behaviors through regulation of dopamine neuron activity. The nucleus accumbens (NAc) provides one of the most prominent projections to the VTA; however, recent studies have provided conflicting evidence regarding the function of these inhibitory inputs. Using optogenetics,(More)
Excitatory afferents to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) are thought to facilitate reward seeking by encoding reward-associated cues. Selective activation of different glutamatergic inputs to the NAc can produce divergent physiological and behavioral responses, but mechanistic explanations for these pathway-specific effects are lacking. Here, we compared the(More)
Brain stimulation has identified two central subsets of stimulation sites with motivational relevance. First, there is a large and disperse set of sites where stimulation is reinforcing, increasing the frequency of the responses it follows, and second, a much more restricted set of sites where-along with reinforcement-stimulation also has drive-like(More)
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