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Submitted by dalon on Tue, 11/14/2017 - 16:24

The lab that most interested me was Mariana Pereira’s lab regarding mother/child interactions. There were three main facets to Professor Pereira’s lab. The first facet was just in general what the different brain structures were that are involved within mom/child interaction. Professor Pereira found that there were limbic-cortical-striatal interactions and also that the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system was involved. Another facet of Professor Pereira’s research was how postpartum depression in mice affected mouse interaction with the pup. Some observations made were that the mouse licked her pup less often and generally interacted with the pup less. In addition, the third and most interesting facet to me, was the impact drugs have on the mother/pup interactions. Although Professor Pereira briefly discussed this, through my own meeting with her she summarized it well. The mice that are addicted to cocaine are more likely to choose to use the cocaine rather than take care of the pups. This is especially interesting because of the VTA system and the dopamine release due to the fact cocaine is known to release dopamine into the VTA system and is the cause for the addictive effect. Therefore, this could potentially demonstrate that the cocaine use overrides the mother’s instinct to take care of her pup.