Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Addiction Neuroscience

Committee Chair

Christopher Lapish

Committee Member 1

Cristine Czachowski

Committee Member 2

Marian Logrip

Committee Member 3

Susan Sangha


Alcohol-paired cues invigorate alcohol-seeking and drinking behaviors in both rodents and individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Additionally, genetic susceptibility plays a key role in alcohol addiction behaviors. Alcohol preferring (P) rats model both genetic vulnerability and symptoms of AUD. The basolateral amygdala (BLA), prefrontal cortex (PFC), hippocampus (HC) and nucleus accumbens (NA) are important brain regions involved in cued alcohol seeking. These regions are interconnected and their functional connections are hypothesized to be critical in the expression of motivated behaviors. Electrophysiological recordings in these four regions were collected in P rats engaged in a cued alcohol task. Data were filtered in the theta band (5-11 Hz) and segregated by behavioral epoch. The phase locking index γ was computed and used to measure strength of phase locking between signals from any two brain regions. The cross correlation between the amplitude of two signals was used to determine directionality. PFC-NA synchrony increased after stimuli presentation and remained elevated, relative to baseline synchrony. PFC-NA synchrony was also stronger for trials in which the animal made three or more lever presses (rewarded; R), compared to trials in which the animal responded fewer than three times (not-rewarded; NR). During lever pressing, PFC-BLA, NA-HC and PFC-HC synchrony was stronger after presentation of the DS+, in R compared to NR trials. NA-HC and PFC-BLA synchrony was stronger when responses were withheld in extinction, relative to conditioning. These data inform our knowledge of how corticolimbic connections are involved in cued ethanol seeking behaviors.