Department of Neuroscience
Gary S. Aston-Jones, Ph.D.
Murray Chair of Excellence in Neuroscience
Director, Cognitive Neuro Center
Director of the Neuroscience Institute
BA, Phil. Theol., Biol. Sci., 1973, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Ph.D., Neurobiology, 1980, Calif. Inst. of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurobiology, 1982, Salk Institute, San Diego, CA
Dr. Gary Aston-Jones 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.