Context-induced relapse to alcohol-seeking after voluntary abstinence

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health
Group Leader Email Number Webpage
Professor Andrew Lawrence 90356692 Personal web page
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Erin Campbell

Project Details

Substance abuse is a major health care problem. Accordingly, there is a real need to increase our fundamental understanding of the processes behind addiction, so that more targeted therapeutic strategies can follow. We have identified a potentially critical neural mechanism by which alcohol associated environments promote alcohol seeking during abstinence. We will further unravel the brain mechanisms of relapse to alcohol seeking, and will identify novel brain areas and circuits that future clinical studies can target in treatment-seeking alcoholics.

A limitation identified in animal models is that abstinence is achieved ‘non-voluntarily’ (experimenter-imposed). In humans, however, abstinence is typically voluntary (self-imposed), despite drug availability and often out of a desire to avoid the negative consequence associated with excessive alcohol use. A recently developed animal model addresses this limitation. In this model, the laboratory animal abstains voluntarily from alcohol use when alcohol-seeking is associated with a negative consequence. We will combine this novel animal model of relapse with innovative procedures to manipulate neurons in defined neural circuits to determine which circuitry is critical for context-induced relapse to alcohol seeking.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health

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