Neurobiology expert to give next GRCC psychology talk

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Grand Rapids Community College

By Joseph Hileski – Collegiate Staff

An expert will be speaking about the effect of drugs on the brain during the Psychology Speaker series at Grand Rapids Community College, from 1-2:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Applied Technology Center.

Dr. Bryan Singer is going to be speaking about the neurobiology of drug addiction. Singer is a research fellow and lecturer at the University of Michigan, studying and teaching about neurobiology. Singer is working on finding new ways of treating and preventing substance use disorder. In the lecture, Singer will talk about brain processes that regulate goal-directed and habitual drug-seeking behavior. He will also talk about how individuals may vary in susceptibility to drug abuse.

Frank Conner, Head of the Psychology Department, is the person who lined up the speakers for the lecture series.

“There are neural-pathways (in the brain) that create emotions, behaviors, habits and functionality,” Conner said. “We know that the brain is developed by experience over time based on biology … Neuroplasticity is essentially the way in which the brain reorganizes itself at a neurological level … and in adulthood the brain begins to become less pliable.”

Conner said Singer will answer the question of how drug abuse could restructure neural pathways or if it is possible to rewire the brain back to functionality after the drug use has stopped.

“There is emerging research to suggest that the plasticity of the brain is more flexible than we once thought it to be,” Conner said.
Conner said students can relate to the lecture because many college students struggle with drug abuse or know someone that does.

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