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Research

We are interested in identifying the genetic and mechanistic bases of behaviors that are associated with addiction. The ultimate goal of our research is to understand how normal ecological relevant behavior is turned into uncontrollable behavior - a hallmark of drug and behavioral addictions. To answer these questions we use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as genetic model system. By using molecular genetics and genetic tools we change genes and their function. We analyze the consequences of these changes on behaviors that are associated with alcoholism, for example like ethanol tolerance. In addition we analyze underlying networks and investigate how different behavioral aspects are related to each other. For example we address whether there is a connection between alcohol preference and tolerance. On the cellular level we tiered to understand, how cellular stress that is caused by alcohol changes neuronal function and in turn behavior. Taken together we use a multi level approach combining behavioral analysis with molecular genetics, neuro-anatomical and biochemical approaches to understand addictive behaviors.