This project is jointly overseen by Dr. Olivier George and Dr. Abraham Palmer.
Dr. George brings the phenotypic expertise and will directly oversee all behavioral studies and tissue collection. Dr. George has over 15 years of experience with animal models of alcohol, nicotine and drug addiction and is recognized as one of the world’s experts in this area. His laboratory is capable of phenotyping hundreds of animals per year using standard operating procedures. The behavioral characterization performed by the George lab include escalation of cocaine intake, progressive ratio responding and compulsive-like responding despite adverse consequences. Such complex phenotypic allow to identify individuals that are vulnerable or resistant to cocaine addiction.
Dr. Palmer has focused his research program on the application of statistical genetic tools to elucidate the molecular basis of behavior. Dr. Palmer will receive tissue (spleen and tail) that will be used for DNA extraction, genotyping , and the genome-wide association study (GWAS). Dr. Palmer’s lab has developed a genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) protocol. Using this approach, Dr. Palmer is able to obtain approximately 2 million genotypes per individual with a low error rate for less than $100 per sample. His lab is currently performing GBS on several thousand animals as part of a number of funded research projects. The samples that are generated by Dr. George’s lab will be entered into this existing laboratory and bioinformatics pipeline and will benefit from the efficiencies of scale and the ongoing methodological research in Dr. Palmer’s lab. In addition, Dr. Palmer has been at the forefront of methods development for GWASs in rodent populations. He has overseen the development of software to address unique issues associated with these analyses and has performed extensive simulation studies as well as numerous studies using real datasets. Thus, Dr. Palmer will be responsible for the GWASs proposed in this project.
Dr. Leah Solberg Woods is a coinvestigator on this project. Her responsibility is to provide heterogeneous stock (HS) rats to Dr. George’s lab. Dr. Solberg Woods has been working closely with Dr. Palmer since 2013 to fulfill a similar role for a number of other projects.