Osnat M. Ben-shahar completed her graduate work in the neuroscience and behavior program at the University of California (UCSB), Santa Barbara, Calif, USA, where she earned her Ph.D. degree under Dr. Aaron Ettenberg’s supervision in the spring of 1997. Upon graduation, she secured a postdoctoral position at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. In 1999, Dr. Ben-shahar returned to UCSB as a Postdoctorate Fellow, and currently she holds the position of an Associate Research Professor at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences there. Dr. Ben-shahar is interested in the neuroadaptations that result from, and mediate, cocaine addiction. For this purpose, she uses a model for drug addiction in which some rats show compulsive drug-taking behavior reminiscent of the pattern seen in human cocaine addicts, and some show the stable controlled pattern of drug taking behavior reminiscent of the recreational use in human drug-users. Dr. Ben-shahar investigates the neuronal changes that are associated with these different patterns of drug-taking behavior using immunohistochemistry, receptor autoradiography, immunoblotting, microPET imaging, microdialysis, and intracranial injections. In order to find the general motivational changes that are associated with drug use and addiction, these rats are also tested on various behavioral tests that explore motivational change.
Biography Updated on 2 October 2012