Job ID: 119636

5 PhD fellowships in Neuropsychopharmacology

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 29 July 2024

City: Camerino

Country: Italy

Institution: University of Camerino

Department:

Description:

Five PhD positions in Neuropsychopharmacology are available at the University of Camerino within the Theoretical and Applied Neuroscience doctorate program.

Research topics are summarized below. For extended description of the research topics, please see topic codes 3.5, 3.10, 3.13, 3.14, 3.15 in here:

https://www.unicam.it/sites/default/files/bandi/2024/06/ANNEX%201_TAN_ciclo%20XL_0.pdf

Research team and environment

The successful candidates will join an international, multidisciplinary, heterogeneous, and interactive environment in which complex questions in neuroscience are addressed integrating the views of multiple scholars. Research group members derive from different backgrounds, including biology, pharmacology, philosophy, psychology, and physics.

Preferred Research Skills and Competences

The doctoral candidate will receive training in the techniques most commonly used in basic neuroscience, including brain activity recording, imaging, electrophysiology, proteomics, behavioural testing, molecular biology, histology and data analysis. Pharmacological, chemogenetic and optogenetic approaches will be also experienced. Candidates with training backgrounds in life sciences, behavioral pharmacology, electrophysiology, pharmaceutical sciences, molecular genetics, and medicine are preferentially considered for this position.

Apply here: https://isas.unicam.it/phd-program-theoretical-and-applied-neurosciece-cycle-xl-%C2%A0call-applications

Application Deadline: July 29th 2024

InfoPoint: All info are available on the application webpage or can be asked directly to: roberto.ciccocioppo@unicam.it, massimo.ubaldi@unicam.it, esi.domi@unicam.it, nazzareno.cannella@unicam.it.

 

Topics summaries:

Code 3.15

Project title: To study the neurobiological, behavioral and pharmacological basis of drug addiction and chronic pain: Focus on the opioid system.

Key words: opioid use disorders, pain, opioid agonists, drug abuse, reward and motivation

Reference person/supervisor: Roberto Ciccocioppo roberto.ciccocioppo@unicam.it

Main Aim

The aim of this PhD project is to study at behavioral, cellular and molecular levels the mechanisms through which is possible to treat pain and addiction by targeting the opioid receptor system.

 

Code 3.13

Project title: To study the molecular basis of the transition from alcohol use to abuse and addiction in rodents: Focus on social variables affecting individual vulnerability to disease development.

Key words: Reward and Motivation, Environment, Neurocircuitry, Pharmacology

Reference person/supervisor:  Claudio D’addario cdaddario@unite.it; Roberto Ciccocioppo roberto.ciccocioppo@unicam.it

Main Aim

To study the molecular, genetic, epigenetic and biochemical background of the transition from drug use to abuse in a context of social drinking.  To accomplish the objectives of this project a collaboration between the University of Teramo, the University of Camerino and AM-microsystem is established.

 

Code 3.5:

Project title: Role of stress by sex by gene interaction in the psychopathology of substance use disorder.

Key words: Reward and Motivation, Stress, Sex-as-Biological-Variable, Neurocircuitry, Pharmacology, Electrophysiology,

Host Institution: University of Camerino

Reference person/supervisor: Nazzareno Cannella nazzareno.cannella@unicam.it

Main Aim

To study the neurocircuitry underlying the interaction of genetic risk factors, stress and sex-as-biological-variable in the development of Substance Use Disorder (SUD), with the ultimate objective to identifying novel molecular targets and therapies to treat SUD.

 

Code 3.10:

Project title: To study the neuronal basis of sporadic neurobiological, behavioral and pharmacological basis of drug addiction and related psychopathologies.

ERC Field: LS7_7 Pharmacology and toxicology; LS5_10 Ageing of the nervous system, LS5_11 Neurological and neurodegenerative disorders

Key words: Alzheimer’s disease model, Autophagy, Pharmacology

Host Institution: University of Camerino

Reference person/supervisor: Esi Domi esi.domi@unicam.it

Main Aim

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. Current AD preclinical models are based on genetic manipulation. However only 5% of AD patients show a high family risk for the disease while 95% of AD cases are sporadic. Alcohol abuse is a major risk factor that can facilitate the development of AD independently of genetically predisposing factors. Our project aims to investigate at neurobiological level the interactions between genetic predisposition to AD and alcohol abuse as an environmental trigger in the development of AD.

 

Code 3.14

Project Title: Effect of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) on the co-administration of alcohol and cocaine in rats genetically selected for alcohol preference.

Key words: Reward and Motivation, Cocaine, Neurocircuitry, Pharmacology

Host Institution: University of Camerino

Reference person/supervisor: Massimo Ubaldi massimo.ubaldi@unicam.it

Main Aim

In humans, the simultaneous use of multiple substances of abuse is very common. For example, it is widely reported that individuals who use cocaine often do so in conjunction with alcohol. The proposed project aims to test the potential of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) as a therapeutic option for individuals who simultaneously abuse alcohol and cocaine.

We will use animal models of cocaine and alcohol co-abuse to study the effect of GHB on the simultaneous self-administration of the two drugs. The efficacy of the drug in reducing both substances would provide evidence supporting the use of GHB in patients affected by polyabuse.