Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care: School of Medicine: University of California, Irvine

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Sean Ostlund, MD photo

Sean Ostlund, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Sean Ostlund’s lab studies the neural substrates of affect, motivation and decision-making and how these brain systems become dysregulated to produce behavioral pathology. Such adaptations can be provoked by a variety of salient environmental stimuli, including opiates and other abused and/or therapeutic drugs, palatable foods, as well as by repeated exposure to chronic pain or stressors.

Dr. Ostlund and his team conduct basic science research on these topics using a multi-disciplinary approach that includes the application of sophisticated behavioral tests capable of parsing fundamental aspects of behavior in rodents, which are combined with neuroscience techniques used to measure or manipulate the activity of specific neural systems. Research strategies include the use of in vivo neurochemical analysis (fast-scan cyclic voltammetry and microdialysis) to measure dopamine and other neurochemical species in awake behaving animals, and optogenetic tools to activate or silence specific cell populations, as well as more traditional approaches including neuropharmacology (systemic and intracranial drug administration), focal brain lesions and immunohistochemistry. Research in the Ostlund Lab is currently funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH106972) and the National Institute of Aging (R01AG045380 and R21AG060752).