Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Darwin Luna.
2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: undeclared
Mentor: Jun Ding, Neurosurgery and Neurology & Neurological Sciences

“Understanding the Role of Hippocampal Plasticity in Learning”

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a debilitating disease. Currently, there are only three treatments approved by the FDA, and, unfortunately, these treatments do not work for all alcoholics. In order to develop better therapeutics, we must understand the cellular and synaptic mechanisms of ethanol reward and learning. Using histology and data analysis, Darwin hopes to provide a clearer account of the role of learning in the striatum, an area in the brain involved in alcohol reward. The mechanistic insight gained from these studies could help advance novel treatment strategies for alcohol use disorder.