Dr. Gary Aston-Jones
Gary Aston-Jones, Ph.D. is the Director of the Neuroscience Institute at MUSC.
Dr. Aston-Jones received his Ph.D. degree from the California Institute of Technology and after a postdoc at the Salk Institute, held faculty positions at SUNY Binghamton, New York University, and at Hanhnemann University where he directed the Division of the Laboratory of Neuromodulation and Behavior at the Universtity of Pennsylvania from 1997 to 2006.
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.