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Antoine “Dibs” Almonte

AlmonteAntoine “Dibs” Almonte, PhD
Instructor

Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1083

Phone: 336-713-0995
Fax:
336-716-8501
Email:
aalmonte@wakehealth.edu

 

 

Education
Postdoctoral Fellow (2014-2017), Wake Forest School of Medicine
Postdoctoral Scholar (2011-2014), The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine  
PhD (2011), The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Neurobiology 
MPH (2000), Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
BS (1998), Emory University, Biology

Research Area
Synaptic transmission, long-term synaptic plasticity, hippocampus, amygdala, drug abuse vulnerability, alcohol, anxiety disorders   

Brief Summary of Research
Alcohol is among the most widely abused drugs in the world and problems arising from alcohol use disorder (AUD) represent a major public health concern. In addition, epidemiological evidence suggests that up to half of alcoholics are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Despite the frequent co-occurrence of AUD and anxiety disorders, there is high variability in the likelihood of developing these disorders. Further, the neurobiological substrates conferring vulnerability or resilience to AUD and anxiety disorders are not well understood. To address this scientific challenge, my research uses a rodent adolescent social isolation (aSI) model of chronic early-life stress that engenders robust and enduring increases in behavioral risk factors of alcohol addiction, including increased anxiety-like behaviors and ethanol intake. As extensive research has convincingly demonstrated that exposure to stressors, such as social isolation, during adolescence can precipitate the onset of a broad spectrum of psychiatric disorders and addiction in adulthood, the aSI model thus presents an ideal way to study the comorbidity of AUD and anxiety disorders that is often seen in humans.

The central mission of my research program is to elucidate the neurocircuitry and neurobiology subserving perturbed synaptic function and cognition in the comorbidity of psychiatric disorders and addiction. Current work is focused on investigating adaptations arising from adolescent social isolation in the circuit comprising the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the ventral hippocampus (vHC), which has been demonstrated to be critical for mediating contextual associations in fear memory formation and extinction, and in modulating the expression of anxiety-related and social behaviors. My research utilizes a multifaceted approach: (1) electrophysiological techniques in brain slices to assess synaptic transmission and long-term synaptic plasticity, (2) behavioral tests of learning and memory, and addiction-related behaviors, and (3) molecular techniques, particularly optogenetic and chemogenetic technologies, to provide control of discrete circuits in electrophysiological and behavioral experiments. The ultimate goals of my research program are to advance our understanding of perturbed synaptic plasticity in comorbid psychiatric disorders and addiction, and to seek out novel pharmacotherapeutic strategies for these conditions.       

Quick Reference

Phone 336-716-8506
Fax 336-716-8501

WF School of Medicine
Medical Center Blvd.
Winston-Salem, NC  27157
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