Emotional behavior is regulated by a host of chemicals, including neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, acting on specific circuits within the brain. Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse and stress are hypothesized to modulate the relative balance of activity of these modulatory systems within key circuitry in the brain leading to dysregulated emotional behavior. One of the primary focuses of the Kash lab is to understand how chronic drugs of abuse and stress alter neuronal function, focusing on stress and anti-stress systems in brain circuitry important for anxiety-like behavior. In particular, we are interested in defining alterations in synaptic function, modulation and plasticity using a combination of whole-cell patch-clamp physiology, optogenetics, chemical genetics, biochemistry and mouse models. Our work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Alcohol Beverage Medical Research Foundation and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.