Welcome to the Tarantino Lab!

The Tarantino Lab

Christiann Hill, Lisa Tarantino, Sarah Schoenrock, David Lee (summer intern), Ken Walsh, Chloe Deshusses (summer intern), Joe Farrington (L-R)


Our lab uses animal models to identify genes that drive addiction-related behaviors. The lab employs a variety of forward genetic approaches in the mouse including
quantitative trait locus mapping and chemical mutagenesis. We completed a genome-wide association study in 45 inbred mouse strains and identified multiple loci that were associated with cocaine-induced locomotor activation. We have mapped genetic loci and have conducted further characterization of strains at the extreme ends of the phenotypic distribution. The lab also works on an ENU-induced mutant, Highper, that has increased sensitivity to both the locomotor and rewarding effects of cocaine as well as a prolonged stress response. The causative mutation in the Highper mouse has been identified and the Tarantino lab is working now to understand its functional significance. We are also involved in the Center for Systems Neurogenetics of Addiction (CSNA) – under the direction of PI Elissa Chesler. Our laboratory is investigating acute sensitivity and behavioral sensitization to cocaine in the Collaborative Cross and Diversity Outbred populations. Finally, 
we also examine the effects of the environment on behavioral and gene expression outcomes. For example, we recently completed a study examining perinatal dietary restriction and its role in anxiety and depression-like behaviors. This page serves as a guide to the work and interests of the Tarantino Lab, including recent publications to see what we’ve been up to lately!