Our Research

The Mulholland Lab is interested in understanding how chronic alcohol exposure produces neuroadaptations in surface trafficking and function of K+ channels that localize to glutamatergic synapses and dendritic and axonal membranes. Our previous studies show that alcohol dependence reduces expression of synaptic K+ channels that control glutamatergic signaling, and pharmacologically targeting these channels reduces heavy alcohol drinking. We have also identified genetic links between genes encoding select K+ channels and alcohol-related behaviors and phenotypes (i.e., alcohol consumption and alcoholism susceptibility risk). Current efforts in the Mulholland Lab focus on functional and morphological plasticity within the corticoaccumbens and thalamocortical circuitry using emerging technologies, and our recent synaptomic studies identified novel alcohol-sensitive proteins and biomarkers across species. These studies aim to define the cellular basis for cognitive dysfunction, negative affect, and relapse to alcohol-seeking behaviors in order to identify novel therapeutic targets to treat alcohol use disorder.