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Mark Namba's F32 is funded!

May 2024

Mark's F32 will support his work utilizing optogenetics targeting microglia to study the circuit and neuroimmune contributions to HIV-induced reward learning deficits.


Christina Curran-Alfaro delivers keynote presentation at Rutgers' Biology Day

April 26, 2024

Christina was invited to return to her alma mater to deliver the keynote presentation at the annual Rutgers Camden Biology Day. Her presentation focused on her career path and the skills she has brought through each stage of her STEM journey. 

Laura Giacometti awarded CNHC pilot grant!

April 2024

Laura's pilot grant, "Top-down mechanisms of estrous cycle dysregulation in EcoHIV infection", will support how EcoHIV infection effects pituitary hormones and medial preoptic area neuron activity.

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New work out now on the neurobehavioral outcomes of HIV infection and cocaine exposure

March, 2024

This new paper published in Communications Biology characterizes behavioral and immune changes in response to HIV infection and cocaine exposure in a humanized mouse model.


Christina Curran-Alfaro wins an award at the GRC!

February, 2024

Christina was awarded the Graduate Student Award for her poster, "sex differences in the effects of chronic low-dose ethanol exposure on behavioral response to changes in reward value", at the Gordon Research Conference on Alcohol & The Nervous System.


New paper out! Positive correlation between measures of habitual responding and motivated responding in mice

December 2023

This work from Katie Bryant investigates the relationship between motivation and habit, and how it is impacted by a history of ethanol exposure.


Rohan Dasari wins award at Discovery Day!

November, 2023

Rohan was awarded 2nd place in the undergraduate student category for his poster, "altered cocaine-seeking behavior and corticolimbic circuit activation in EcoHIV infected mice", at Drexel University Discovery Day.


New paper out! Sex and individual differences in the effect of chronic low-dose ethanol on behavioral strategy selection

October 2023

This work from Katie Bryant reveals sex differences in behavioral strategy for reward seeking, and how strategy can be impacted by chronic low-dose ethanol exposure. 


Rohan Dasari wins award at MAPS!

October, 2023

Rohan was awarded 1st place in the undergraduate student category for his poster, "altered cocaine-seeking behavior and corticolimbic circuit activation in EcoHIV infected mice", at Mid-Atlantic Pharmacology Society meeting.


New review out now! Advancing the preclinical study of comorbid neuroHIV and substance use disorders: Current perspectives and future directions

October 2023

This new review from Mark Namba and Qiaowei Xie emphasizes the importance of integrating substance use disorder and HIV research in preclinical models.

Christina Curran-Alfaro receives the Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship

October, 2023

This fellowship supports URM graduate students in attending their first Gordon Research Conference.

September, 2023

Mitch Nothem receives pilot award

Mitch Nothem has been awarded pilot funding to investigate the analgesic potential of cannabidiol combinations for chronic neuropathic pain. This work will expand our knowledge of how chronic administration of CBD alone or a combination of CBD and other cannabinoids can impact chronic pain behaviors.

September, 2023

NIAAA R21 funded

We are excited to begin work on this newly funded R21, "Prelimbic cortex contribution to ethanol seeking in chronic neuropathic pain", led by Mitch Nothem, which will provide insight into the neurobehavioral niche mediating ethanol seeking and relapse-related behavior under conditions of chronic pain.

August, 2023

Julia Wiafe-Jackson places 3rd in the Quick Pitch Competition!

Julia came in third place for her quick pitch presentation at the end of the STAR scholars program, following an incredible poster presentation. 


August, 2023

Christina Curran-Alfaro's F31 is funded!

Christina's funded F31 will support her work investigating chronic low-dose ethanol effects on value-guided decision-making and BLA function.


New work highlights the effects of ethanol exposure in adolescence on reward seeking in adulthood

July 2023

Laura Giacometti's work in this paper demonstrate how adolescent ethanol exposure disrupted nondrug reward taking and seeking in adulthood and altered ethanol consumption in adult male mice. This work was supported by lab members Christine Side, Kelsey Chandran, Sam Stine, Lauren Buck, and Rebecca Wenzel-Rideout.

Katie Bryant's paper featured in eNeuro

May 8, 2023

Katie Bryant selected as an Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award Finalist!

June 17, 2023

Congratulations and good luck to Katie!

Katie Bryant earns the Bondi Award!

May 12, 2023

Congratulations to Katie for receiving the Amedeo Bondi, PhD Endowed Graduate Award. This award is given to a graduating PhD student for excellence in research performance during their training experience.

Katie Bryant Defends her Dissertation!

April 17, 2023

Congratulations to Katie for successfully defending her PhD thesis! Katie is the first PhD graduate from the Barker lab, and has set a high bar for all who follow in her foot steps. We can't wait to see the great things she will achieve! 

The Barker lab at PCSfN

March 13, 2023

Congratulations are in order to both Katie and Christine! Katie's award winning flash talk was excellent, and Christine took first place for her poster in the technician category at the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. 

Christina Wins 2nd Place at Discovery Day

October 28, 2022

Congratulations to Christina for winning second place in the Outstanding Senior Graduate Student Poster category at the 2022 Discovery Day meeting.

Mark Namba's diversity supplement is funded!

October 28, 2022

Congratulations to Mark on recieving a diversity supplemt from NIDA. This funding will support Mark's innovative work investigating neurobehavioral mechanisms in preclinical models of comorbid HIV and substance use disorder.

Sam Stine defends her master's thesis!

May 10, 2022

Congratulations to Sam for successfully defending her master's thesis investigating binge-like eating following chronic ethanol exposure in female mice.

ASPET Travel Awards

April 4, 2022

Congratulations to Christina and Qiaowei for receiving travel awards from ASPET!

Katie Bryant's F31 is funded!

May 27, 2021

Katie's funded F31 will support her work investigating the role of ventral hippocampus circuits in mediating the effects of low-dose ethanol on reward learning and motivation.

Review on sex differences in the glutamate system in substance use

March 15, 2020

In this review, lead by Laura Giacometti, we discuss our current understanding of sex differences in the glutamate system, implications for substance use disorders and treatment, and gaps in knowledge. 

Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center-Developmental Core Pilot Award

January 29, 2020

We can't wait to get started on our recently funded CNAC Pilot Award "Sex differences in HIV- and cocaine-induced changes in astrocyte function and reactivity", with Dr. Giacometti as Co-I!

New review out on converging mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction in HIV and AUD

August 15, 2019

Welcome summer researchers!

July 03, 2019

We're grateful to welcome three funded summer fellows, Kelsey Chandran, Brianna Hamilton, and Briana Johnson! Learn more about their funding, research plans, and career interests below. 

Congratulations to Qiaowei for her successful defense!

June 11, 2019

Qiaowei Xie successfully defended her Master's in Drug Discovery and Development today! Her thesis work on sex differences in compulsive-like ethanol seeking was recently published at ACER - learn more here.

Qiaowei will start her PhD in Pharmacology and Physiology this fall, and we're sure many great things are yet to come!

NIDA A-START Award Funded!

May 10, 2019

We're very excited to have received a NOA for our NIDA A-START Award investigating aberrant corticostriatal circuit function in a mouse model of HIV infection. This research, in collaboration with the Gaskill Lab, will assess infection-induced alterations in compulsive-like drug seeking and underlying neurobiological substrates. 

Qiaowei's research recognized at Drexel's Sex and Gender Research Forum

March 13, 2019

Congratulations to Qiaowei for receiving a poster award at the Drexel Sex and Gender Research Forum. Her research identifies sex-specific effects of chronic ethanol exposure on reward seeking despite aversive experiences.

Check out our new work on vHipp projections in the maintenance of habitual behavior

January 07, 2019

Our new paper published in Learning and Memory discusses a role for ventral hippocampus projections to the nucleus accumbens shell in supporting habitual behaviors that persist despite changes in contingency.

Welcome to the lab, Fangyi!

November 28, 2018

Fangyi Huang is completing her Master's in Drug Discover & Development Program as part of an undergraduate-graduate cooperation between Drexel University and China Pharmaceutical University. 

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