Dr. LaHoste's research program is unique in that it seeks to understand the biological bases of behavior at several levels of organization from molecular genetics to behavior as well as many of the levels in between (gene and protein expression, chemical neuroanatomy and physiology).The goal of this strategy is to obtain a comprehensive view of the complexity of normal and pathological human behavior. This strategy and the techniques involved have been applied mostly to behaviors that are profoundly influenced by the neurotransmitter dopamine. Not only are the effects of dopamine profound, but they extend to a remarkably wide range of behaviors including motor behavior, cognition, attention, motivation, drug addiction, and the translation of thought into movement.
Dr. LaHoste's research is "translational," or applied, in nature. His most recent findings promise to lead directly to a novel, superior treatment for schizophrenia and late-stage Parkinson's disease. These findings were prompted by behavioral results that led to the use of molecular genetics by which Dr. LaHoste co-discovered a novel gene. The function of this gene was, in turn, tested in behavioral models (genetically engineered mice). This gene was recently identified as being necessary for neuronal cell death in Huntington’s disease, which is untreatable and fatal. His lab is avidly pursuing this finding in hopes that it will lead to a treatment. Although molecular techniques are used, behavior represents the start-point and the end-point of all of Dr. LaHoste's research.
In earlier work, Dr. LaHoste was the first to discover the link between a dopamine-related gene and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This finding has been replicated in many laboratories world-wide, and the two original papers describing this discovery have been cited over 500 times in scientific journals. The previously unknown link between this gene and ADHD has had an important impact on current theories and represents a major new avenue for the development of better drugs in the treatment of this childhood disorder.
Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology from Tulane University (1985)
Postdoctoral training in Bordeaux, France and at the University of California, Irvine.
He served on the faculty at UCI for eight years before coming to UNO.