– Society Memberships:
- The Society for Neuroscience
- Association for Behavior Analysis
- Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
- The International Brain Research Organization
Understanding the neural and environmental mechanisms of reward-related learning is central to understanding behavior in general and crucial to understanding psychopathologies like addiction, pathological impulsivity and depression. Thus, my research is aimed at delineating the environmental and neural mechanisms underlying reward-related learning, motivation and drug addiction. In my laboratory, we focus on (1) the neural and environmental mechanisms whereby goal-directed behavior is acquired and expressed and (2) the neural and environmental mechanisms underlying the acquisition, maintenance and reinstatement of drug-taking and drug-seeking. Several neural pathways have been implicated in reward-related learning and we currently are engaged in developing neural models that help us understand the neural plasticity occurring in specific regions of these pathways as a function of reward-related learning. Currently, the behavioral paradigms that we use include operant and classical conditioning (e.g., self-administration of drug or food) and the neuroscience techniques include psychopharmacology, neuropsychopharmacology and immunohistochemistry.
Manuszak, M., Harding, W., Gadhiya, S. and Ranaldi, R. (2018). (-)-Stepholidine reduces cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking and cocaine self-administration in rats. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 189, 49-54.
Galaj, E. and Ranaldi, R. (2018). The strength of reward-related learning depends on the degree of activation of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons. Behavioural Brain Research, 348, 65-73.
Galaj, E., Ewing, S. and Ranaldi, R. (2018). Dopamine D1 and D3 receptor polypharmacology as a potential treatment approach for substance use disorder. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 89, 13-28.
Ewing, S. and Ranaldi, R. (2018). Environmental enrichment facilitates cocaine abstinence in an animal conflict model. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 166, 35-41.