Behavioral and Pharmacological Neuroscience at Indiana University
Welcome to the website of Professor George Rebec and his research group. Our research focuses on how the brain processes behaviorally relevant information to guide patterns of movement and motivation. We are especially interested in the operation of the basal ganglia and related forebrain structures in health and disease.
We use electrophysiological (single-unit recording and local field potentials) and electrochemical (slow- and fast-scan cyclic voltammetry) techniques to monitor neuronal function under a variety of behavioral conditions. Behavioral assessments are studied in relation to the neural signaling patterns and the neural oscillations that occur across multiple brain regions. We also use immunoblotting and other techniques to measure the expression of specific brain proteins and their post-translational modification. Proteins are suppressed or activated by state-of-the-art approaches in molecular genetics..
Our research includes two primary areas of interest: the mechanisms by which drugs of abuse such as cocaine and the amphetamines enhance drug craving and drug seeking, and the neural network dysfunctions underlying Huntington's disease, a fatally inherited neurodegenerative condition. In both lines of research, we use rodent models to identify protein or cellular mechanisms that could become targets for therapeutic development. For example, we have identified GLT1, the protein found primarily on astrocytes that controls glutamate transmission, as a critical player in the relapse to cocaine seeking and in the neurological signs of Huntington's disease. These studies are now an important focus of our research.
Our research program has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1979. Some aspects of our work also have been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Hereditary Disease Foundation, the Cure Huntington's Disease Initiative, and the Indiana University METACyt Program in collaboration with the Eli Lilly Foundation. We are grateful for this support.