- Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Anatomy and Cell Biology
- alasek [at] uic.edu
- (312) 355-1593
School of Public Health / Psychiatric Institute (SPHPI)
1601 W. Taylor St.
SPHPI MC 912
Chicago IL 60612
- Room #:466
Dr. Lasek is interested in the molecular and cell biological factors that contribute to alcohol use disorders and drug addiction. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a BA in Biology and Biochemistry and received her PhD in Molecular Biology from Cornell University. Prior to joining the Department of Psychiatry at UIC, Dr. Lasek was an Associate Investigator at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco, where she cultivated her interests in molecular neuroscience and addiction research.
Dr. Lasek’s research is focused on determining how perturbing signaling pathways and gene expression in the brain alters behaviors related to drug and alcohol addiction. The laboratory uses molecular genetic techniques in the mouse to answer these questions. Dr. Lasek is also particularly interested in elucidating the neurobiological basis for sex differences in drug abuse. The overall goal of her research is to find novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of addiction. She is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and is a member of the Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics in the Department of Psychiatry.
Molecular neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction, effects of estrogen on reward and addiction-related behaviors.
Hamada, K., Ferguson, L.B., Mayfield, R.D., Krishnan, H.R., Maienschein-Cline, M., & Lasek, A.W. (2021) Binge-like ethanol drinking activates ALK signaling and increases the expression of STAT3 target genes in the mouse hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Genes Brain Behav. Feb 28;e12729. doi: 10.1111/gbb.12729. Online ahead of print.
Chen, W.-Y., Chen, H., Hamada, K., Gatta, E., Chen, Y., Zhang, H., Drnevich, J., Krishnan, H.R., Maienschein-Cline, M., Grayson, D.R., Pandey, S.C., and Lasek, A.W. (2021) Transcriptomics identifies STAT3 as a key regulator of hippocampal gene expression and anhedonia during withdrawal from chronic alcohol exposure. Translational Psychiatry 11:298.
Chen, H. & Lasek, A.W. (2020). Perineuronal nets in the insula regulate aversion-resistant alcohol drinking. Addict. Biol., 25(6):e12821. PMCID: PMC7032993.
He, D. & Lasek, A.W. (2020) Anaplastic lymphoma kinase regulates internalization of the dopamine D2 receptor. Mol. Pharm., 97:123-131. PMCID: PMC6964149.
Vandegrift, B.J., Hilderbrand, E.R., Satta, R., Tai, R., He, D., You, C., Coles, C., Chen, H., Brodie, M.S. & Lasek, A.W. (2020) Estrogen Receptor α Regulates Ethanol Excitation of Ventral Tegmental Area Neurons and Binge Drinking in Female Mice. J. Neurosci., 40(27):5196-5207. PMCID: PMC7329299.
Vandegrift, B.J., You, C., Satta, R., Brodie, M.S., & Lasek, A.W. (2017) Estradiol increases the sensitivity of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons to dopamine and ethanol. PLOS ONE, 12(11):e0187698. PMCID: PMC5673180.
Chen, H., He, D., & Lasek, A.W. (2017) Midkine in the mouse ventral tegmental area limits ethanol intake and Ccl2 gene expression. Genes Brain Behav.,16(7):699-708. PMCID: PMC5595638.
Dutton, J.W., Chen, H., You, C., Brodie, M.S. & Lasek, A.W. (2017) Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) regulates binge-like drinking and dopamine receptor sensitivity in the ventral tegmental area. Addiction Biol., 22(3):665-678. PMCID: PMC4940304.
Chen, H., He, D., & Lasek, A.W. (2015) Repeated Binge Drinking Increases Perineuronal Nets in the Insular Cortex. Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res., 39(10):1930-8. PMCID: PMC4592458.
He, D., Chen, H., Muramatsu, H., & Lasek, A.W. (2015) Ethanol activates midkine and anaplastic lymphoma kinase signaling in neuroblastoma cells and in the brain. J. Neurochem., 135(3):508-21. PMCID: PMC4618084.
Savarese, A., Zou, M.E., Kharazia, V., Maiya, R, & Lasek, A.W. (2014) Increased behavioral responses to ethanol in Lmo3 knockout mice. Genes Brain Behav. 3(8):777-83.PMCID: PMC4442799.
|ALK and Midkine as Novel Neuroimmune Regulators of Alcohol Consumption||The Lasek lab participates in the Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA)-Neuroimmune consortium funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). We are examining brain immune signaling mediated by anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) and midkine (MDK) and will determine where in the brain these proteins function to regulate excessive ethanol consumption.||
||The Lasek Lab||On-going|
|Compulsive Alcohol Drinking and Cortical Extracellular Matrix||Specialized extracellular matrix structures in the brain, known as perineuronal nets, are important for neuronal activity and learning and memory. We found that perineuronal nets are increased in intensity in the insula, a cortical region that regulates compulsive alcohol drinking, after chronic alcohol use.||The Lasek Lab||On-going|
|Epigenetic Mechanisms of Glia and Neuron Interactions in Alcoholism||As part of the NIAAA-funded Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics, this research component will evaluate epigenetic modifications, such as histone acetylation, methylation, and DNA methylation, due to ethanol exposure in astrocytes that may be involved in ethanol-induced hippocampal neural plasticity and depression-like symptoms during withdrawal after chronic ethanol exposure.||
||The Lasek Lab||On-going|
|Epigenetic mechanisms of glia and neuron interactions in alcoholism||This research component will evaluate epigenetic modifications, such as histone acetylation, methylation, and DNA methylation, due to ethanol exposure in astrocytes that may be involved in ethanol-induced hippocampal neural plasticity and depression-like symptoms during withdrawal after chronic ethanol exposure.||
||Alcohol Research Center||On-going|
|Molecular Mechanisms of Estrogen Action in Promoting Binge Drinking||Binge drinking is a form of alcohol abuse that leads to serious adverse health outcomes for women. The ovarian hormone estrogen promotes binge drinking in females. We are examining the molecular and cellular function of estrogen receptors in the ventral tegmental area, a brain region involved in drug reward, in stimulating binge drinking and alcohol reward in mice.||
||The Lasek Lab||On-going|
|06/14/2021||UIC research identifies potential pathways to treating alcohol use disorder, depression||UIC Today|
|06/01/2020||Does estrogen influence alcohol use disorder?||UIC Today|
|11/01/2019||Dr. Amy Lasek’s publication (in collaboration with UIUC and Northwestern University) made the cover of the Journal of Proteome Research!||Journal of Proteome Research|
|11/06/2017||Higher estrogen levels linked to increased alcohol sensitivity in brain's "reward center"||UIC Today|
|05/16/2017||Dr. Amy Lasek received the Young Scientist Award||International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS)|
|06/03/2016||Congratulations to Dr. Amy Lasek on being honored by the College of Medicine with the 2016 Rising Star Award for the Department of Psychiatry||UIC College of Medicine|
|03/21/2016||Exploring the Science of Addiction||Chicago Tonight|
|09/02/2021||Monoaminylation as an Epigenetic Mark||Past Event|
|04/02/2020||Activation of hippocampal STAT3 signaling in multiple models of alcohol use disorder||Past Event|
|10/04/2017||New Pathways in Alcohol Addiction: Preclinical Models for Discovery and Characterization of Novel Genes||Past Event|
|12/15/2015||New and emerging therapies for drug and alcohol addiction||Past Event|