Despite our best efforts over the last few decades, currently available treatments for addiction are only modestly effective. My lab has taken a two pronged approach to address the limited effectiveness of current treatments.
To develop more effective therapies, I have focused on medications and/or psychosocial interventions that target the basic neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms that are involved in the development and maintenance of addiction. To determine which individuals are most vulnerable to addiction and to determine which individuals might benefit most from a given treatment, I have focused on genetic factors that might explain individual variation in the same basic neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms that influence the etiology of addiction. These foci yield valuable information about who may be most at risk for developing addiction, and yield valuable information about who may be most likely to respond favorably to a given treatment approach. Ultimately, matching individuals to treatment based on specific genetic variables has the promise of increasing the overall effectiveness of our treatment approaches.