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Research Projects

Boehm Research Projects

Neurobiology of Compulsive Alcohol Consumption


  • Progressive loss of control over (compulsive) alcohol consumption is a hallmark of alcohol use disorder. The dorsal striatum is believed key in the transition to compulsive alcohol consumption. A project in collaboration with Dr. Nick Grahame (Dept. of Psychology, Purdue School of Science) is exploring the role of dorsal striatal AMPA receptors in the development of compulsive-like alcohol consumption in mice. The project is funded by a component grant with the NIH/NIAAA-supported Indiana Alcohol Research Center.

Environmental Determinants of Drug Use Behavior


  • Health disparity lies at the core of drug and alcohol addiction in Indiana. This project seeks to test whether early life exposure to the challenged living conditions associated with health disparity in the State (early life exposure to lead (Pb) from old industrial sites, over-crowding, and food insufficiency) alter later drug-related behavior in mice. This work is funded by a grant from the IU Indiana Grand Challenges initiative.

Brain and Behavioral Effects of Adolescent Edible Cannabis


  • The impact of the drug on the developing adolescent brain is not well understood. A project in collaboration with Dr. Ken Mackie (Dept. of Psychological and Brain Sciences, IU Bloomington) is working to develop a mouse model of edible D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) consumption/exposure. THC is the major psychoactive component of cannabis. This work is supported by a collaborative grant from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).

Brain and Behavioral Effects of High-Fat Diet Consumption


  • Consumption of a Western-style high-fat diet has been associated with the development of type-2 diabetes, and type-2 diabetes has been associated with Alzheimer's disease, in humans. A project in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Elmendorf (Dept. of Cellular and Integrative Physiology, IU School of Medicine) seeks to determine whether consumption of a high-fat diet sufficient to produce a pre-diabetic state in mice also produces early cognitive decline, as well as altered brain cholesterol accumulation, in these animals. This project is funded by a collaborative grant from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).

Experimental Treatments for Toxoplasmosis


  • Exposure to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii produces a characteristic brain and behavioral abnormalities in humans. A project in collaboration with Dr. Bill Sullivan (Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, IU School of Medicine) seeks to test several experimental therapeutic interventions in the treatment of Toxoplasmosis in mice. A collaborative grant supporting this work has been submitted to the NIH.