Scientific Biography

Dr. España received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin where he worked with Dr. Craig Berridge to investigate the behavioral and physiological functions of the hypocretins. His doctoral research focused on hypocretin regulation of arousal-related processes including sleep/wake behavior and stress. His postdoctoral research with Dr. Thomas Scammell at the Harvard institutes of Medicine invovled elucidating the afferent innervation of the hypocretin neurons with a particular emphasis on aminergic inputs. In this work, Dr. España showed that the hypocretin neurons receive inputs from regions that govern motivation, homeostatic drive, behavioral state, and autonomic tone. Dr. España later joined Wake forest School of Medicine, where he used behavioral and neurochemical approaches to demonstrate that the hypocretins regulate the reinforcing effects of cocaine via actions on the mesolimbic dopamine system. His current research focuses on hypocretin, dopamine, and norepinephrine regulation of arousal-related processes including sleep/wake function, stress, and drug reinforcement.