Anna Lee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology. Dr. Lee received her B.S. degree in Pharmacology from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto. She then moved to the US for a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Robert Messing at UCSF. Dr. Lee was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, prior to moving to her current position in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota.
The goal of my research is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms in alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is also frequently associated with other conditions such as nicotine dependence, chronic pain and dementia. The goal of our work is to understand the mechanisms that contribute to alcohol use disorder and its comorbidities. We are particularly interested in how cholinergic signaling and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) contribute to alcohol use disorder and its comorbidities with nicotine dependence. The nAChRs are widely expressed ligand-gated ion channels that are primarily found on presynaptic terminals and on neuronal cell bodies, and thus are poised to modulate neurotransmission and regulate neural circuits. We are interested in how cholinergic signaling in the midbrain, and different nAChR subtypes, contribute to the effects of alcohol and the development of alcohol use disorder. We use a wide range of molecular and behavioral tools including transgenic mouse models, viral genetic manipulations, pharmacological tools and behavioral assays in pre-clinical mouse models.
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