DepartmentDipartimento di Fisiologia e Farmacologia
My academic expertise is in the pharmacology and neuroscience of drug addiction, with a focus on neurobiology of drug relapse. This interest is rooted in the fact that the major challenge in treating addiction is to prevent relapse to drug use during abstinence. Moreover, research on neural substrates of drug relapse has yet to be translated into significant advances in addiction treatment. Thus, the major aim of my research is to elucidate the behavioral, environmental, and neural mechanisms underlying drug relapse.My multidisciplinary approach combines behavioral, cognitive, neuropharmacological, chemogenetic, and anatomical techniques in rats. I follow up on correlative measures of neuronal activity with causal demonstrations, using intracranial injections of pharmacological agents, messenger RNA interference, or state-of-the-art chemogenetic DREADD methods.I have experience in the techniques required to complete standard behavioral neuroscience projects. This includes behavioral tasks, perfusions, as well as intracranial and intravenous surgery, immunohistochemical assays, retrograde tracing, and viral injections (for optogenetic and chemogenetic manipulations).