Why do we continue to perform behaviors despite adverse consequences? More specifically, why do we take drugs and overeat when we are aware of the deleterious health effects? Ultimately, my research is aimed at elucidating the neurophysiological mechanisms that contribute to dysregulated behaviors including drug abuse and nonhomeostatic food consumption. Currently, my lab is examining how insular cortical dysfunction alters the salience of the reinforcing and aversive properties of drugs of abuse with an emphasis on how nicotine, acting within the insula, may promote susceptibility to polysubstance use. To address these questions, we employ a number of neurobehavioral techniques including circuit-specific chemogenetic manipulations and site-specific neuropharmacology to assess changes in motivated behavior.