Investigating Drug Abuse: Building Molecular Tools

Video length: 1:29



Brandon Harvey speaking: 

My name is Brandon Harvey and I'm the Director of the Optogenetics and Transgenic Technology Core here at the NIDA Intramural Research Program.

One on the primary objective with this lab was to build molecular tools for dissecting out the genetic components of addiction.

In terms of the advances that are occurring in addiction now much of it relies on molecular biology tools and being able to manipulate neurons at a genetic level.

This all starts with DNA.

So what we're trying to create are viral vectors we use as delivery vehicles so these are viruses that have been genetically modified so we no longer have the virus properties other than the ability to deliver DNA into a cell.

After we have the DNA made that can be used to make a virus, we need to put into mammalian cells, and in this case for using the mammalian cells as a factory to produced virus.

We get back concentrated virus in a small tube and from there the virus goes into a rodent brain into specific regions so it is directly injected into the brain once we do that we need to verify that we actually got the gene delivered to the cells we were interested, in the region of the rat brain that were interested in.

So to do that what we do is we freeze the brains and we section them very thinly and look at them on slides using a microscope.