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Christina Lebonville, a graduate student in Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience, is the recipient of the 2017 King Research Excellence Award.

This award honors the late Dr. Richard King, a Professor of Psychology at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, for his many contributions to our department over the years. This award recognizes research excellence.

Christina is currently working towards her doctoral thesis by investigating the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in heroin conditioned immune suppression and in the learning and expression of drug-associated behavior. Focusing on the dorsal hippocampus, the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in conditioning with opioids and genetic regulation during opioid conditioning ultimately has consequences on hippocampal functioning in response to drugs of abuse. Christina plans, with a King Award, to fund her work with an RNAscope to examine the expression of IL-1 in the hippocampus. This award will help her facilitate her dissertation research as it is a new innovative technique for the detection of very low levels of mRNA in brain tissue.

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