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overview The main focus of Dr. Gass's current research is to determine how glutamate receptors alter the reinforcing properties of alcohol-related cues. Studies from his laboratory have demonstrated that modulation of the mGluR5 receptor can facilitate the extinction of alcohol-seeking behavior, prevent relapse induced by exposure to alcohol cues, and alter both structural and functional plasticity in the prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, his research has shown that blockade of mGluR5 can attenuate the reinforcing properties of alcohol and prevent various forms of alcohol-seeking behavior. Ongoing studies in his laboratory also suggest that the manipulation of alcohol memories during the 'reconsolidation' period can also attenuate alcohol-seeking behavior. These novel findings are being pursued as a possible pharmacological therapy to be used in conjunction with current behavioral therapies for the treatment of alcoholism.
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  • Prefrontal Cortex