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Laboratory of Neuromodulation and Behavior

Gary Aston-Jones, Ph.D.

Dr. Aston-Jones

Dr. Aston-Jones received his Ph.D. degree from the California Institute of Technology working first with James Olds and then with Floyd Bloom. After a postdoc at the Salk Institute, he held faculty positions at SUNY Binghamton, New York University, and at Hahnemann University where he directed the Division of Behavioral Neurobiology. Dr. Aston-Jones was a Professor in the Psychiatry Department, and Director of the Laboratory of Neuromodulation and Behavior at the University of Pennsylvania from 1997 to 2006.

Gary Aston-Jones accepted a new position at the Medical University of South Carolina in 2006, and is currently the Murray Chair of Excellence in Neuroscience and the Director of the Carolina Primate Center.

Dr. Aston-Jones’s primary research interests are in the brain neuromodulatory systems, and their roles in cognitive performance, drug abuse, sleep and waking, and affective disorders. He uses a multidisciplinary approach, primarily involving single unit neurophysiology, neuroanatomy and behavioral neuropharmacology in rats and monkeys. He and his colleagues have recently described a role for the brain noradrenergic locus coeruleus system in decision processes, in the circadian regulation of sleep and waking, and in depression. Other of his lab's recent work also reveals a key role for the A1/A2 noradrenergic brain system innervation of the ventral forebrain in the affective response to drug withdrawal, and also indicates an important role of this and related systems in the drug seeking that accompanies protracted opiate withdrawal.