This site is designed to introduce you to our laboratory's interests and goals.
We seek to elucidate the underlying neural and endocrine mechanisms that regulate motivated behaviors. Specifically, we use the study of mechanisms regulating mating behavior as a prototypic model for understanding motivation and drive. Why mating? Our nervous system has evolved to reward behaviors that are important for survival of the individual and, as a result, ultimately the species. One of these is of course sexual behavior, without which natural outcrossing is impossible. Therefore, it stands to reason that mating should serve as an ideal model for performing our work, which is to say understanding motivation, its acquisition, and associated disorders. We employ several molecular, cellular, anatomical, neurochemical, endocrinological, and behavioral techniques to help us achieve this goal.
What of the translational implications associated with our research? Naturally any investigation into the regulation of motivation will also have implications for behavioral disorders such as addiction and/or depression. This is true, in part, because these disorders manifest with the subversion of the very same mechanisms that regulate naturally rewarding behaviors, like feeding, reproduction, and affiliative behaviors. Therefore, in addition to orchestrating studies that contribute to our basic understanding of brain-behavior relationship, it is our intent to interpret these data from a translational perspective.
So we hope that you will use the links provided above to learn more about us. If you should have questions or comments, send us an e-mail by using the Contact link provided below.
Juan M. Dominguez, Ph.D.