About Sarah

Sarah Swinford-Jackson received a B.S. in Psychology from Arizona State University and completed her undergraduate honors thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Janet Neisewander. Sarah continued to investigate the role of the serotonergic system in cocaine addiction under the mentorship of Dr. Kathryn Cunningham at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where she earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2016. Her dissertation project utilized rodent operant behavior, behavioral pharmacology, and protein biochemistry techniques to elucidate the role of the serotonin (5-HT) 5-HT 2C receptor localized to the mesocorticolimbic circuit in the intensification of cocaine-seeking behavior evoked by cocaine-associated cues during extended abstinence. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Pierce laboratory, Sarah aims to combine optogenetic tools with behavioral and biochemical assays to delineate the molecular mechanisms underlying the effect of deep brain stimulation in the nucleus accumbens shell to suppress the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior.