• Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 2019-21
  • Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University, 2019
  • M.S., University of Colorado Boulder, 2014
  • B.A., Willamette University, 2012
Areas of Interest

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive alcohol intake, negative emotional affect during periods of abstinence, and repeated relapse events. As a neuroscientist, I am interested in better understanding the neuronal mechanisms that underlie AUD. Specifically, by using a rodent model, my research focuses on examining how learning, memory, and reward processing all come together to promote relapse. In my lab, we use a systems neuroscience approach that combines behavioral assays and molecular techniques to identify novel neurobiological targets for the treatment of AUD.

Courses Taught

NEUR 200: Introduction to Neuroscience
PSYC 345: Drugs and Behavior
BIOL 380: Cellular Neuroscience
NEUR 385: Integrative Neuroscience Senior Seminar


Zuniga, A., Smith, M.L., Caruso, M., & Ryabinin, A.E. (2021). Vesicular glutamate transporter 2-containing neurons of the centrally-projecting Edinger-Westphal nucleus regulate alcohol drinking and body temperature. Neuropharmacology, 200, (108795).

Zuniga, A., Ryabinin, A.E., & Cunningham, C.L. (2020). Effects of pharmacological inhibition of the Edinger-Westphal nucleus on ethanol-induced conditioned place preference and body temperature. Alcohol, 87.

Zuniga, A., Ryabinin, A.E. (2020). Involvement of centrally-projecting Edinger-Westphal nucleus neuropeptides in actions of addictive drugs. Brain Sciences, 10, (2).

Zuniga, A., & Cunningham, C.L. (2019). Rewarding and aversive doses of caffeine alter activity but not conditioned place preference induced by ethanol in DBA/2J mice. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 187, (172799)

Deussing, J.M., Ryabinin, A.E., Zuniga, A., Kozicz, T. (2017). Action of CRF/urocortin peptides. in de Kloet, E.R. (Ed.) Hormones, Brain & Behavior (3rd ed). Elsevier.

Duncan J.E., Lytle, N.K., Zuniga A., & Goldstein, L.S.B. (2013). The Microtubule Regulatory Protein Stathmin Is Required to Maintain the Integrity of Axonal Microtubules in Drosophila. PLoS ONE, 8, (6).

Professional Affiliations
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Pavlovian Society
  • Research Society on Alcoholism