Dr. Sukla Roychowdhury
Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Roychowdhury’s research program is focused on understanding the Cytoskeletal mechanisms of alcohol/nicotine dependence.
- What are the key molecular mechanisms that modulate cytoskeletal re-organization in neurons during the development of alcohol and nicotine dependence?
- What is the role of neuronal protein tau in alcohol/nicotine mediated cytoskeletal alterations?
- Does nicotine exposure promote alcohol dependence via Gbg-mediated signaling pathway?
Significance of the work
Alcoholism and tobacco use are major public health and economic concerns. However, little is known about the underlying mechanisms that modulate the development of dependence following alcohol and nicotine exposure and withdrawal. Studies suggest that changes in the cytoskeletal architecture of neurons may provide a mechanism by which long-lasting plasticity modulates behavioral changes produced by chronic drug addiction. Therefore, our strategy is to elucidate the molecular mechanism(s) that lead to disruption of cytoskeleton in neurons in response to alcohol and nicotine exposure. We utilize a transdisciplinary approach involving an animal model of alcohol/nicotine dependence and in-vitro cell culture systems to address this emerging problem. Specifically, we are focusing on component of G protein mediated signaling (Gbg) and tau protein (a microtubule-associated protein) in mediating cytoskeletal alterations in alcohol/nicotine dependence.
Methods to be learned
A wide range of cellular, molecular techniques will be used to conduct the study, including cell and tissue cultures, subcellular fractionation, western blot and immunoprecipitation, gene-knockdown and overexpression, confocal-scanning microscopy, live-cell imaging, brain sectioning and immunocytochemistry. Thus, summer undergraduate students in Dr. Roychowdhury’s laboratory will be exposed to standard and cutting-edge techniques in the field of neuroscience.