The Drug Addiction Research group, based within the Brain Mapping Unit, is run by Dr Karen Ersche. Here, you can find out more details about her work.
Dr Karen Ersche, University Lecturer, Group Leader
I am interested in the effect of chronic drug use on brain function and the question how occasional drug use turns into addiction in some people. My aim is to better understand what renders some people vulnerable for developing dependence whilst others remain resilient to the addictive effects of drugs. My research therefore aims to elucidate the neurobiological substrates of vulnerability and resilience for drug dependence. I hope that this knowledge will help to develop more efficient strategies for the prevention and treatment of addiction. An ancillary interest of mine is to develop new tools to better assess and evaluate individual- or time-sensitive variations in drug abuse.
A secondary research aim is to understand the effects of class A drugs on general health, wellbeing and on processes such as ageing. I believe that a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in drug addiction will provide a solid basis for the development of efficient therapeutic interventions whilst helping reducing the widespread stigma attached to people who have become dependent on drugs.