Roitman lab is interested in determining the neural basis of adaptive (feeding and drinking) and maladaptive (over-eating, drug-taking) motivated behaviors. We are particularly interested in the role of the mesolimbic dopamine system. The nucleus accumbens and the neurotransmitter dopamine are critical brain substrates involved in motivated behavior including feeding and drug-taking. They appear to be vital to reward-related learning as well. Since the nucleus accumbens accesses motor-related structures it is well suited to modulate behavior based on changes in motivational state and learned associations. Our research seeks to determine how this system integrates information about valence (reward vs. aversion) with peripheral and central signals that convey information about physiological state (e.g. hunger, thirst, satiety, drug-withdrawal). We also seek to determine whether modulation of these signals can resolve aberrant processing that underlie maladaptive behavioral responses. To accomplish this, we employ state-of-the-art recording techniques and virally-delivered construct for circuit manipulations with detailed behavioral analyses. Our program of research will shed considerable light on human disorders of motivation such as obesity and drug-addiction.