Dr. Bloss specializes in utilizing viral and transgenic mouse strategies to address the neural mechanisms of addiction. His research program focuses on addiction-relevant neural circuits and seeks to identify changes within the synaptic architecture that support the acquisition and extinction of drug-seeking behaviors. Genetic and neuroanatomic strategies enable specific sets of neurons to be visualized, and synapses between these neurons are mapped using high resolution microscopy. The long-term goal of this work is to understand whether synaptic plasticity between specific neurons determines susceptibility or resilience to drugs of abuse.
R01 Discovery of Addiction-Related Genes with Advanced Mouse Resources
(Role: Collaborator with Elissa Chesler)
The overarching goal of the proposal is to discover the genetic and genomic mechanisms underlying behavioral predisposition and development of addiction. Within this framework, the goal of our Pilot Project is to test whether the underlying synaptic properties of cortical circuits differ across mouse strains that have disparate drug-seeking phenotypes. We will also test whether these different patterns of drug seeking behavior stem from differential forms of structural synaptic plasticity in specific cortical circuitry. This project leverages the extensive phenotyping resources of Dr. Chesler's NIDA P50 Center of Excellence to identify how genetic mechanisms modulate structural traces of past drug exposure within addiction-relevant neural circuits.