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Personal profile

Research interests

Deficits or surfeits in motivated behavior are key features of numerous and often comorbid psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Megan Fox’s research aims to identify neural mechanisms that drive the development of substance use and stress disorders with an emphasis on opioid use and dependence. The lab uses multidisciplinary approaches that bridge complex behaviors, cell-type-specific transcriptomics, in vivo neurochemistry, and circuit-specific genetic manipulations.

The laboratory's current focus is on circuit-specific transcriptional changes in opioid self-administration and relapse. The lab uses a technically innovative approach that combines next-generation single nuclei RNA sequencing with transsynaptic viral tagging to identify transcriptional changes based on synaptic input.

Based on the transcriptional changes, the lab generates Cre-dependent viruses to manipulate candidate molecules to block drug use and seeking. Then, with in vivo fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, ascertains how drugs and molecular manipulations alter dopamine and norepinephrine release.

Alongside the work on opioid use, Dr. Fox is also pursuing circuit-specific transcriptional changes in stress disorders, with the ultimate goal of unraveling how individual stress-susceptibility increases the liability for developing a substance use disorder.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Postdoctoral Trainee, University of Maryland School of Medicine


PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



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