Our Team

Research in the Mulholland Lab aims to unlock the molecular mechanisms by which chronic alcohol leads to escalation of voluntary consumption and aberrant morphological and synaptic plasticity. We combine various techniques, such as super-resolution confocal imaging and 3D image analysis, electrophysiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, fiber photometry-GCaMP6 signaling, and behavior, to understand the cellular and molecular changes that contribute to alcohol dependence and heavy alcohol drinking.

Mulholland Laboratory Research Team

Patrick J. Mulholland, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Charleston Alcohol Research Center
30 Courtenay Drive, Gazes Biomedical Research Building 629C
843-792-1229

Degrees: B.A. in Psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2000; M.S. in Behavioral Neurosciences from the University of Kentucky in 2003; Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Kentucky in 2005.

Biography: Dr. Patrick J. Mulholland received his Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Kentucky. After completion of his doctoral studies on alcohol-induced toxicity in the hippocampus and cerebellum, Dr. Mulholland received postdoctoral training at the Medical University of South Carolina in functional and morphological plasticity of glutamatergic synapses. After receiving a K99 Pathway to Independence Award from NIH-NIAAA, Dr. Mulholland joined the faculty in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at MUSC in 2010. Dr. Mulholland was promoted to an Associate Professor in 2015 and is an active member of the Charleston Alcohol Research Center. He is continuing his studies on functional plasticity with a focus on potassium channels and mechanisms driving excessive alcohol drinking.

Jennifer A. Rinker, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor
Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Charleston Alcohol Research Center

30 Courtenay Drive, Gazes Biomedical Research Building 629E

Degrees: B.S. in Biology and Psychology from Western Michigan University in 2003; M.A. (2007) and Ph.D. (2010) from American University in Behavioral Neuroscience

Biography: Dr. Rinker joined the faculty in the Department of Neuroscience at MUSC in 2017 after completing postdoctoral training fellowships at the University of North Carolina with Dr. Todd Theile and MUSC with Dr. Mulholland. Her research have highlighted an essential role for CRF signaling at CRF-2 receptors in the VTA in regulating binge-like ethanol consumption, and additionally demonstrated that activity in VTA-projecting BNST CRF neurons promotes this binge-like ethanol consumption using circuit-specific inhibition of CRF activity with DREADDs. Further, her contributions to the understanding of CRF-NPY interactions in both the CeA and BNST using DREADD technology have helped characterize the role of these neuromodulators in regulating heavy alcohol consumption in both a region- and circuit-specific manner. Currently, Dr. Rinker is exploring how alcohol drinking affects calcium signaling in thalamocortical projection neurons using fiber photometry and miniscopes. Dr. Rinker uses traditional behavioral pharmacological techniques (e.g., both systemic and site-directed drug administration) and cutting edge technology (e.g., DREADDs, fiber photometry, slice electrophysiology, in vivo single-cell calcium imaging) in her research program.

Reginald Cannady, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Degrees: B.S. Biology, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC; Ph.D. Neurobiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Biography: Dr. Reginald (Reggie) Cannady is interested in studying the cellular and behavioral mechanisms that contribute to heavy alcohol consumption in models of alcohol use disorder. His doctoral work at UNC-Chapel Hill focused on elucidating the role of multiple glutamate receptor subtypes in modulating the reinforcing and discriminative stimulus properties of alcohol. He then transitioned to MUSC as a postdoctoral fellow in the Mulholland lab where he studies the functional role of multiple potassium channel subtypes in alcohol dependence and is seeking to identify novel contributions for cortical interneurons in heavy drinking.

Christina Lebonville, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Degrees: B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Biography: Dr. Lebonville received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her doctoral work investigated the hippocampal mechanisms of heroin contextually conditioned immune modulation. For postdoctoral training, she joined the labs of Drs. Mulholland and Becker and is using a mouse model of alcohol dependence to study the neuroplastic changes that occur with chronic alcohol exposure and that could promote excessive drinking. She is focused on using fiber photometry and genetic manipulations to explore local and circuit-level signaling involved in dependence escalated drinking especially in the context of stress.

Solal Bloch, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral scholar

Degrees: B.S. in Biology from Paris-Sud University (France) in 2012, Master Degree in Neurosciences and Signalization in Paris-Sud University in 2015, Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Paris-Saclay University (France) in 2019.

Biography: Solal received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology at the Paris-Saclay University in France. He performed his doctoral work in evolutionary neurobiology, using an interdisciplinary approach to study adult zebrafish behavior and neuroanatomy. As a postdoc in the Mulholland lab, he is developing whole brain imaging tools to study the early ethanol engram in mice, and studies the effects of ethanol drinking on negative affective behaviors.

Sarah Ewin, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Degrees: B.A. in Psychology from Creighton University in 2014; Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Wake Forest University in 2019

Biography: Dr. Ewin received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Physiology and Pharmacology from Wake Forest University. Her doctoral studies focused on examining the neurobiological substrates underlying addiction vulnerability using a model of chronic early life stress and the effects of chronic intermittent ethanol exposure on synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Currently, as a postdoctoral scholar, she is examining how stress and alcohol co-exposure can drive excessive alcohol drinking, negative affective behavior, and changes in addiction related neurocircuitry.

Technician

S. Dollie Jennings, B.S.

Research Specialist II

Degree: B.S. in Psychology from the College of Charleston in 2018

Biography: Dollie Jennings joined the Mulholland lab in July 2018. Dollie assists on various research projects studying chronic alcohol consumption and related changes in dendritic morphology, synaptic plasticity, and behavior. Dollie also is responsible for managing overall lab space. One of her favorite projects involves 3D confocal microscopy imaging observing changes in dendritic spines following chronic ethanol exposure.

Madison Marcus
Research Specialist I

Degrees: BA in Psychology from Grinnell College in 2019

Biography: Madison received her BA in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience from Grinnell College in 2019.  In the Mulholland lab, she is working on projects investigating the role of potassium channels in in ethanol consumption and anxiety-like behavior, using in vivo electrophysiology, behavior, and targeted genetic manipulation techniques.  

Undergraduate and High School Students

Jason Knapp
Research Assistant

Degree: Undergraduate student pursuing a B.S in Psychology with minors in Neuroscience and Biomedical Physics

Biography: Jason Knapp is a third year student at the College of Charleston currently completing his bachelor's degree in Psychology. Along with this, he is also studying Neuroscience and Biomedical Physics for his advancement in basic sciences for a future in medicine. Jason was awarded a position in the Psi Chi International Honors Society for his academic standing in the field of Psychology. Past experiences include volunteer counselling at Special Olympic events and time as an emergency medical technician for his local rescue squad in New Jersey. Since February of 2019, he has been working as a research assistant at the Medical University of South Carolina, under the guidance of Dr. Reggie Cannady in the Mulholland lab. Jason will continue his career in medicine in graduate school after he receives his B.S in Psychology in 2021.