Andrea Mele

University position

Professore associato


Andrea Mele is Associate Professor of Psychobiology at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology of Sapienza University of Rome.
He graduated in Biology at Sapienza in 1987. He worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, in Bethesda, with Agu Pert and Robert M. Post, focusing on the effects of drug of abuse on the dopaminergic system.
Neural circuits in learning and memory
We are interested in the neural mechanisms underlying memory, at a molecular and neural circuit level. Our approach combines pharmacological, molecular, and behavioral analyses to understand the temporal dynamic of memory stabilization.
Current research
Learning and memory are two of the most important capabilities of our mind. They allow the acquisition of new knowledge and the retention and reconstruction of this knowledge over time. Our group has demonstrated that complex associative learning and memory requires the activation not only of medial temporal lobe associated brain structure but also that of different components of the striatal complex (Ferretti et al., 2010). Using a comparative approach we investigated molecular processes underlying memory formation in the hippocampus and in the striatal complex demonstrating striking differences between the two brain regions suggesting that memory consolidation depends on molecular processes with a complex spatiotemporal dynamic (Capitano et al., 2016a; Capitano et al., 2016b). We are currently working on the functional relationship between the hippocampus and the striatum in learning and memory and how these circuits support different form of learning.
Future research
We aim to discover the neural circuits and molecular mechanisms that support learning and memory in health and disease. In the long term our findings could help the refinement of theoretical models, and may be insightful for developing new theories on the biological mechanisms underlying learning and memory as well as for the development of new therapeutic strategies for mental illness.

Selected papers
1. Mannironi, C., Biundo, A., Rajendran, S., De Vito, F., Saba, L., Caioli, S., … Mele, A., Presutti, C. (2017). miR-135a Regulates Synaptic Transmission and Anxiety-Like Behavior in Amygdala. Molecular Neurobiology.
2. Capitano, F., Camon, J., Ferretti, V., Licursi, V., De Vito, F., Rinaldi, A., … Mele, A. (2016). microRNAs Modulate Spatial Memory in the Hippocampus and in the Ventral Striatum in a Region-Specific Manner. Molecular Neurobiology, 53(7), 4618–30.
3. Coccurello, R., Oliverio, A., & Mele, A. (2012). Dopamine-Glutamate Interplay in the Ventral Striatum Modulates Spatial Learning in a Receptor Subtype-Dependent Manner. Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 37(5), 1122–1133.
4. Ferretti, V., Roullet, P., Sargolini, F., Rinaldi, A., Perri, V., Del Fabbro, M., … Mele, A. (2010). Ventral striatal plasticity and spatial memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(17), 7945–50.
5. De Leonibus, E., Managò, F., Giordani, F., Petrosino, F., Lopez, S., Oliverio, A., … Mele, A. (2009). Metabotropic glutamate receptors 5 blockade reverses spatial memory deficits in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 34(3), 729–38.
6. Roullet, P., Sargolini, F., Oliverio, A., & Mele, A. (2001). NMDA and AMPA antagonist infusions into the ventral striatum impair different steps of spatial information processing in a nonassociative task in mice. The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 21(6), 2143–9.

Research keywords
Behavior, Circuit, Plasticity
Research theme(s)
Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience
Application fields
Behavioral neuroscience

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