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Enoch Gordis Award

Jordan Yorgason and Dr. Sara Jones

Jordan Yorgason, a PhD student in Dr. Sara R. Jones lab (Physiology and Pharmacology),  recently received the prestigious young investigator Enoch Gordis Award at this year’s Research Society on Alcoholism (RSoA) meeting in Orlando, Florida.

While the majority of studies examining ethanol interactions with the mesolimbic dopamine system have demonstrated that ethanol enhances dopamine levels in general, Jordan has recently discovered a novel effect of ethanol on ‘phasic’-like dopamine terminal activity, demonstrating that ethanol inhibits dopamine release that’s important for reinforcement conditioned learning and reward related behaviors. Together with previous work, these new studies suggest that ethanol’s effects on dopamine activity act as a balance to result in overall changes in dopamine levels. Furthermore, Jordan examined this inhibitory effect of ethanol on dopamine release in two strains of mice that have very different ethanol dopamine responses, and dopamine centric behavioral responses, with DBA/2 mice showing greater reward related behavior to ethanol than C57BL/6 mice. He found that C57BL/6 mice are more susceptible to ethanol inhibition of ‘phasic’-like dopamine release. These results suggest that individuals that are more vulnerable to the rewarding effects of ethanol may have attenuated inhibition of learning related dopamine signaling.

Jordan is finishing up his 5th year in the Neuroscience PhD Program, and will be moving on to a post-doctoral position in Portland, OR this fall. Congratulations Jordan !!