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Mechanisms of Action of Amphetamines: Insights from C. elegans Genetics and Physiology.

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Feb 5, 2018, 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

LSC 106

Please join the Department of Biology in welcoming Dr Lucia Carvelli from Florida Atlantic University. She will be presenting a lecture entitled "Mechanisms of Action of Amphetamines: Insights from C. elegans Genetics and Physiology." Her research abstract discusses Amphetamine (AMPH) and its usage as psychostimulant, appetite suppressant and to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Among other effects, AMPH has been shown to alter the function of proteins uniquely associated with the reward system, i.e. the dopamine transporter (DAT). Similarly to mammals, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) exhibits changes in behaviors when treated with AMPH, and we showed that these AMPH-induced changes are in part mediated by the C. elegans DAT (DAT-1). We are currently investigating the long-term effects of this drug by chronically exposing C. elegans with AMPH during early development. We found that AMPH exposure during development increases the number of adult animals exhibiting AMPH-induced behaviors. Interestingly, we found that the behavioral effects caused by AMPH exposure during development were transmitted to progeny through epigenetic modifications. Because many of the components of the dopaminergic system as well as epigenetic mechanisms are highly conserved between C. elegans and mammals, these results could be critical for our understanding of how drugs of abuse initiate and promote addiction in adults and future generations.

To learn more about her research and career, click here.