Michael Hanna, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology/Psychology
Office: Psychology 106
- Addiction Studies
- Biological Psychology
- Cognitive Psychology
- General Psychology
- Neuroscience Lab
- Undergraduate Biological Research
- University of California, Irvine (2012)
Ph.D. Biological Sciences (Specialization: Neurobiology)
- University of California, Irvine (2004)
B.S. Neurobiology & Behavior
My research interests lie in the formation and attenuation of drug-associated memories. In humans, the triggering of memories associated with drug-administration frequently evokes drug-seeking behavior. In fact, one of the reasons for the low rate of recovery from addiction is due to exposure of drug cues (such as drug paraphernalia, neighborhoods, and scents) that trigger a strong craving for the drug. The removal of drug-associated cues serves as a potential treatment to help prevent relapse in recovering addicts. The reconsolidation hypothesis claims that when a stable long-term memory is reactivated, it undergoes a process in which the memory is in a liable and unstable form and thus susceptible to alteration. In our ongoing project, students use the condition place preference (CPP) paradigm to study the molecular processes involved in the formation of memories that are associated with drug administration. Students train rats to associate certain cues with administration of methamphetamine and then examine whether the memory of these cues can be erased, weakened, or disrupted by various neurotransmitter agonists and antagonists.
Prior to Vanguard I taught a Neurobiology Lab at UCI and was an adjunct faculty at Mt. San Antonio Community College and Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Areas of interest include substance abuse, neurological disorders, and developmental disorders.
Apart from Vanguard, I am involved in services aimed at providing food and clothing to the homeless of Downtown Los Angeles. I am also involved in a tutoring and college-preparation program for high school youth in Orange County.