Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Laverne Camille Melon

[title]
Education: 

Ph.D (expected August 2013) Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Psychobiology of Addictions

Thesis: Does binge drinking induce PMDD-like behavioral and neurochemical dysfunction in C57BL/6J females? Committee: Drs. Stephen L. Boehm (chair), Susie Swithers, Cris Czachowski, Nicholas Grahame

M.S. (2010) Binghamton University, Behavioral Neuroscience.

Thesis: GABAA receptors in the posterior but not anterior ventral tegmental area mediate RO 15-4513 attenuation of binge-like ethanol consumption in C57BL/6J females. Committee: Drs. Stephen L. Boehm (chair), Terry Deak and Norman Spear

B.A. (2007) Middlebury College, Neuroscience (minor: Women and Gender Studies).

Senior project: Effect of ethanol pre-treatment on voluntary consumption and development of tolerance. Advisor: Dr. Kim Cronise

Research Interests: 

I am completing my pre-doctoral training in the psychobiology of addiction under Dr. Stephen Boehm II, who has had a productive career elucidating the role that the GABA receptor system plays in mediating alcohol related behaviors. My specific interest in addictive behaviors developed in the final years of college. During that time, I was introduced to behavioral research and became excited by the challenges associated with the animal modeling of alcohol abuse and dependence. Prior to this, an internship in a neurobiological laboratory (focused on the role of neurotrophic factors in apoptosis) developed my curiosity in neurophysiology and receptor plasticity. An aim of my graduate studies, and of my career in general, is to bridge the gap between these two concentrations. Specifically, I am interested in the combined role of behavioral and receptor plasticity in the escalation of drug self administration.

Our lab is currently working hard to enhance scientific understanding of the GABA receptor system’s role in mediating binge alcohol consumption as well as correlated behavioral markers of alcohol use disorders. Given the growing body of evidence supporting sex differences in the self administration of various drugs of abuse, and the sexually dimorphic nature of the GABA receptor system, I am now interested in applying our knowledge of this neurotransmitter system to explore its interaction with biological sex in moderating and mediating the effects of binge alcohol consumption.