Cinema Arts Centre Huntington, NY


Dr. Anne Churchland

Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


Dr. Rob Martienssen

Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Trainspotting— The Science of Addiction

Dr. Anne Churchland and Dr. Rob Martienssen discussed recent research that has begun to reveal how the use and abuse of drugs can sometimes lead to circuit-level and even epigenetic changes in the brain. Changes in the brain take place both in neural circuits that are directly related to the brain’s ability to experience pleasure, and also in areas that play a role in complex cognitive function.

Cinema Arts Centre Huntington, NY

Film Synopsis

Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) is a young heroin addict living in economically depressed Edinburgh. Renton's friends are also junkies: Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Begbie (Robert Carlyle), Spud (Ewen Bremner), Tommy (Kevin McKidd), and his underage girlfriend, Diane (Kelly Macdonald). After one too many brushes with the law, Renton kicks his habit and moves to London, where he finds a job, a flat, and something close to peace of mind. However, Sick Boy, Begbie, and Spud all arrive at his doorstep on the trail of a big score, leading Renton back down a dangerous path. Danny Boyle directed this Academy Award-nominated black comedy crime drama.

About the Speaker

Dr. Anne Churchland is a principal investigator and assistant professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where she explores neural machinery underlying decision-making. Her work generates insights into sensory processing, motor planning and complex cognitive function.

Dr. Rob Martienssen 
is a professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where he explores epigenetic mechanisms of genome organization and inheritance.