Lead Faculty for the Imaging Cells During Behavior Core Awarded NINDS RF1 Grant!

Dr. Suhasa Kodandaramaiah

MDTA faculty Dr. Suhasa Kodandaramaiah and Dr. Tim Ebner were awarded a grant for their proposal "Robot assisted brain-wide neural recordings and comprehensive behavioral monitoring in freely behaving mice".  With this funding they will continue their efforts to develop better cranial exoskeletons that allow mice to move freely with multiple neural recording implants.  

The team writes: "Currently available technologies for recording neural activity in freely behaving animals suffer reduced performance from miniaturization. We propose to engineer a cranial exoskeleton that attaches to the animal’s head and is capable of maneuvering neural recording hardware weighing orders of magnitude more than the animal subject, in 6 degrees of freedom in response to an animal’s movements. The cranial exoskeleton will reveal the mechanisms by which neural computations function normally to produce complex behaviors and how those computations go awry in neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases."  

Dr. Timothy Ebner

Drs. Ebner and Kodandaramaiah lead the Imaging Cells During Behavior core within the University of Minnesota's Center for Neural Circuits in Addiction.  Their core is already assisting researchers at the UMN offering offers a range of imaging modalities to monitor brain activity in behaving animals across a range of spatial and temporal scales including: fiber photometry, head-mounted miniature microscopes (“miniscopes”) and novel wide field-of-view optical imaging during behavior at both the mesoscopic and cellular levels. This funding and project will bring even more innovative solutions to researchers within the MDTA.

And remember those core services are subsidized to addiction researchers at the UMN through the Center for Neural Circuits in Addiction!

Congratulations Suhasa and Tim!!

Dr. Jocelyn Richard receives new award from NIDA

Dr. Richard

Dr. Jocelyn Richard, PhD, an assistant professor in the Medical Discovery Team on Addiction (MDTA), has received a new award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, titled: "“Neural basis of incentive and expected value representations”

Dr. Richard's comments on the project, writing:  "The incentive motivational value of drug-associated cues drives several facets of addiction, including escalation of drug use and the propensity to relapse even after long periods of abstinence. Cues with high incentive value elicit complex motivational and emotional states, invigorating reward-seeking behaviors that are incommensurate with the value of expected rewards. In contrast, goal-directed reward-seeking behavior relies on accurate mental representations of the expected value of predicted outcomes. Effective long-term treatments for addiction must precisely target brain mechanisms of behaviors driven by the incentive value of cues, while sparing or facilitating healthy decision-making, including goal-directed control of behavior. Yet, we know little about how the brain mechanisms underlying incentive motivation are related to those required for mental representations of future rewards. This project utilizes single unit and circuit/cell-type specific approaches to understand the relationship between the neural circuit mechanisms underlying these distinct drivers of reward-seeking behavior."

Read more about her research at the Richard Lab website

Dr. Jan Zimmermann receives new award from NIBIB

Dr. Jan Zimmermann

Dr. Jan Zimmermann's newly funded project, "Connectome style neuroimaging in non human primates via novel integrated RF platforms"  seeks to develop "novel and innovative radiofrequency hardware and... test how well whole brain directional connectivity estimates from fMRI correspond with ground truth tract tracing experiments. This development and validation can directly aid us in translating findings from the animal model into future studies of the mesoscopic circuit effects of human mental illness."

MDTA Faculty, Dr. Anna Zilverstand’ testimony helps pass bill in Minnesota state legislature


Dr. Zilverstand

Dr. Anna Zilverstand’s testimony and research helped pass an amendment that would no longer require prenatal care providers to report women seeking prenatal care or treatment to local welfare agencies.  As summarized in the bill summary for H.F. 1026, the amendment, recently passed by the Minnesota House and Senate, “removes the requirement for health care and social services professionals to report a woman’s use of a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose or excessive consumption of alcohol during pregnancy to the local welfare agency, if the professional is providing or collaborating with other professionals to provide the woman with prenatal care, postpartum care, or other health care services, including care of the woman’s infant.” 

This amendment will help give women who had previously been hesitant to seek prenatal care out of fear of being reported and potentially losing custody of their child, the confidence to seek prenatal care and treatment, thus increasing the likelihood of a successful pregnancy and delivery.

 MDTA Pilot Program Awards

Drs. Cvetanovic and Mermelstein

Drs. Cvetanovic and Mermelstein will investigate how cocaine actions on the cerebellum influence drug reward:  Drs. Cvetanovic and Mermelstein write: recent “studies suggest that cocaine promotes activation of the neurons in deep cerebellar nuclei that in turn modulate the reward circuitry within the brain. However, the identity of the neuronal cell types comprising the cerebellum-VTA circuit and whether cerebellar activation is required for the rewarding effects of cocaine remain unknown. This proposal seeks to answer these questions.

Drs. Groman and Zimmermann

Drs. Groman and Zimmermann will investigate the circuit development that occurs during adolescence and impacts: “Adolescence is a critical developmental stage in which the brain undergoes a profound reorganization, including the formation and stabilization of neural circuits that are involved in decision making and addiction. We have recently demonstrated that value-based decision-making improves across adolescent development in the rat and is related to the reinforcement-learning mechanism that predicts drug use in adulthood. We hypothesize that these decision-making improvements are due to age-related changes in the amygdala-OFC circuit and, specifically, that measures of amygdala-OFC connectivity during adolescent development could serve as a noninvasive biomarker of addiction susceptibility in humans. This proposal will test these hypotheses by combining sophisticated decision-making assessments with in vivo MR neuroimaging, drug self-administration, optogenetic approaches, and ex vivo tractography across adolescent development in the rat.

Drs. Redish and Saunders

Drs. Redish and Saunders will develop dual-channel fiber photometry for simultaneous measurement of norepinephrine and dopamine in rat medial prefrontal cortex.  Drs. Redish and Saunders write: “Addiction is characterized as a breakdown of decision-making processes. A central brain area in decision making is the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). An often-underappreciated component of mPFC processing is the role of dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) as neuromodulators. Careful study of the dynamics of these modulators has historically been difficult, but new advances in imaging techniques and fluorescent biosensors have begun to open the door.  The goal of this project is to develop the capability of dual-channel fiber photometry capable of measuring DA and NE levels simultaneously yet separably from behaving rats.

Congratulations to all the award winners!

Wednesday July 13th:

  • IEM seminar/happy hour 4:00 pm

    "What I Didn’t Know That I Wish I Knew: Reflections From Med Tech Innovators."

Register HERE

Date and Time:
Wed, July 13, 2022
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM CDT

University of Minnesota Health Sciences Education Center
526 Delaware Street Southeast
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Monday, July 18th:

  • Brains for Change Presentation 10:00- 11:00 am

"Making Neuroscience-Based Drug & Substance Use Disorder Education Accessible for All"
An addiction outreach curriculum for adolescents by UMN students and alumni

Zoom Link

  • MDTA/CMRR Seminar 12:00- 1:00 pm

"Exploring the Multi-scale Complexity of the Nervous System"
Dr. Guoqiang Bi

Xinchuang Professor and Chair
Departments of 
Neurobiology and Biophysics
University of Science and Technology of China
Hefei, Anhui, CN

Monday, July 18th
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (Central Time) 

CMRR 2-102

Refreshments will be provided.

Click here to join on Zoom if you are unable to attend in-person.  

Meeting ID: 926 9807 2251
Password: fLY0Yp

Wednesday, July 27th:

  • International Network of tES/TMS Trials for Addiction Medicine Webinar: "Optimized Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation for Addiction Treatment"

Registration Link


10:00-10:05, Introduction of INTAM Webinar Participants

10:05-10:10, Opening Talk 1: Optimization of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation for Treatment of Drug Addiction, Hamed Ekhtiari (University of Minnesota, US)

10:10-10:15, Opening Talk 2: Provokation-based Targeting? Incorporating Behavioral Primes into the  TMS Treatment Algorithms,Colleen A Hanlon (Wake Forest University, US)

10:15-10:30, Core Talk: Using Lesions to Identify Therapeutic Targets for Addiction, Michael Fox (Harvard Medical School, US)

10:30-11:15, Discussants: Personalization/Optimization of Non Invasive Brain Stimulation Parameters for Drug Addiction (2-3 slides per discussant)

Designing Individualized TMS Trials, Victor M. Tang (University of Toronto, Canada), 

Parameter Space in Individualized TMS Trials, Tonisha E Kearney-Ramos (Columbia University Irving Medical Center, US), 

Circuit-based Approaches to Individualized TMS Trials, Vaughn R Steele (Yale School of Medicine, US)

Dose Response Measurements in Brain Stimulation Trials,  Ghazaleh Soleimani (University of Minnesota, USA),

Using Navigators in Individualized TMS Trials,Deborah C.W. Klooster (Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands),

Computational Modeling and Functional Brain Network for Guiding TMS Trials , Cristian Morales Carrasco (University of Minnesota,

Lessons Learned from Failed Individualized TMS Trials, Lysianne Beynel (National Institute of Mental Health)

Bioethics in Individualized TMS Trials, Jonathan Young (Duke University Medical Center, US)

11:20-11:30,Granting Agencies: How Brain Stimulation Technologies for Drug Addiction Can be Funded in NIH, Kevin Walton (The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA))

11:30-11:50, Group Discussion

11:50-12:00, Conclusion and the Road Ahead


Meeting Link

Meeting ID: 894 2140 5811

Passcode: 686666

Wednesday September 14th

  • Minnesota Symposium on Addiction Neuroscience

MnSAN will feature keynote, plenary, and poster sessions discussing basic science and translational/clinical science research on addiction neuroscience. More information on speakers and additional details to come.

Location: McNamara Alumni Center
Time: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm