Dr. Stanley Floresco’s research focuses on neural circuits that facilitate different forms of learning and cognition, with an emphasis on the interactions between different brain regions within the dopamine system (including regions in the frontal and temporal lobes) that facilitate functions such as behavioural flexibility, cost/benefit decision making, and reward-related learning. His laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach, combining behavioural, psychopharmacological and neurophysiological assays.
Of relevance to health-related issues, his laboratory is particularly interested in modeling dysfunction in these brain circuits and corresponding cognitive impairments associated with different diseases, such as stimulant addiction, depression and schizophrenia. The approach here is to understand how the normal brain solves these types of problems, and then assess how manipulations that model these disease states alters neural activity and behaviour mediated by these circuits. In turn, these studies further our understanding of the neural dysfunction that may underlie these disease states, and may also facilitate the development of novel treatments for these disorders.
University: University of British Columbia
St Onge JR, Ahn S, Phillips AG, Floresco SB. Dynamic fluctuations in dopamine efflux in the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens during risk-based decision making. J Neurosci. 2012 Nov 21;32(47):16880-91. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3807-12.2012. (PubMed abstract)
Shafiei N, Gray M, Viau V, Floresco SB. Acute stress induces selective alterations in cost/benefit decision-making. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Sep;37(10):2194-209. doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.69. Epub 2012 May 9. (PubMed abstract)
Tse MT, Cantor A, Floresco SB. Repeated amphetamine exposure disrupts dopaminergic modulation of amygdala-prefrontal circuitry and cognitive/emotional functioning. J Neurosci. 2011 Aug 3;31(31):11282-94. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1810-11.2011. (PubMed abstract)
Enomoto T, Tse MT, Floresco SB. Reducing prefrontal gamma-aminobutyric acid activity induces cognitive, behavioral, and dopaminergic abnormalities that resemble schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Mar 1;69(5):432-41. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.09.038. Epub 2010 Dec 10. (PubMed abstract)
Floresco SB, Jentsch JD. Pharmacological enhancement of memory and executive functioning in laboratory animals. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Jan;36(1):227-50. doi: 10.1038/npp.2010.158. Epub 2010 Sep 15. (PubMed abstract)