While it is important to understand the fine points of the research I am doing, it is also essential to understand the long-term goals of the research. I met with the head of the mice research this past week at the Coatesville department of Veteran Affairs.
The greatest take-away from the visit was the chance to get an idea of what the larger implications of my work was. Essentially, Dr. Ferrara, the head of the project, used a test to determine two types of mice that had opposite reactions to morphine. One group became addicted, and the other resisted taking the drug. This was followed by several generations of interbreeding, and the resulting group of mice I will be working with. These mice are several different groups, all of which are genetically different with respect to the addiction. Dr. Ferrara will be doing experiments on the brains of the mice to try and determine what makes them addicted, while I will be doing research on the livers.
The main goal will be to measure levels of the Cytochromes I mentioned in my previous entry in order to determine if there is an enzyme difference between those easily addicted and those who resist addiction.
The large-scale goal of this is to help those addicted or at risk for addiction, but it could also potentially one day lead to better addiction treatment.