Amygdalar synaptic neuroadaptations associated with alcohol dependence

Marisa Roberto

 

Dr. Marisa Roberto

May 3 at 12:20pm in the Fralin Auditorium, Fralin Hall room 102

Hosted by Dr. M. Bczynski

 

Marisa Roberto, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at The Scripps Research Institute. She received her BS in Biology in 1996 and her PhD in 2001 from University of Pisa and completed postdoctoral training with George Siggins in the Department of Neuroscience at the Scripps Research Institute. She continues to work at Scripps and has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health throughout her career. She has received numerous national and international awards for her work including the RSA Young investigator award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), The Jacob P. Waletzky Award for Outstanding Research in Addiction, and the Knight of the “Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy. She is a Senior Editor at the journal Neuropharmacology, and a founding Organizer of "Alcoholism and Stress: A Framework for Future Treatment Strategies", widely considered one of the preeminent international meetings for studying alcohol addiction.

Dr. Roberto’s research focuses on neuropeptidergic modulation of synaptic function in the rodent brain, particularly in the amygdala, with the aim of understanding how stress-related neuropeptides influence amygdala-dependent circuitry and addiction-related behaviors. Her findings provide a framework for further molecular and cellular research that will facilitate medication development and may help tailor personalized therapies for alcoholism and other addictive disorders.

Alcoholism is a chronic relapsing illness that accounts for major disability worldwide and available treatments are insufficient. Current and future studies in my laboratory aim to understand the specific neuronal mechanisms that underlie synaptic and/or molecular changes to influence the development of dependence to alcohol and other drugs of abuse. With prolonged drug use, these adaptations often lead to significant changes in the structure and function of neurons. We primarily study the synapses of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), a brain region that plays a central role in the behavioral effects of acute and chronic drug consumption, and in the physiological responses to fearful stimuli and stressful stimuli. Over time, chronic elevated alcohol consumption results in neuroadaptations that involve the recruitment and pathological activity of extrahypothalamic stress systems, providing an incentive for negatively reinforced alcohol intake. Our findings provide a framework for further molecular and cellular research that will facilitate medication development and may help tailor personalized therapies for alcoholism and other addictive disorders.

CB1 and ethanol effects on glutamatergic transmission in the central amygdala of male and female msP and Wistar rats. Kirson D, Oleata CS, Parsons LH, Ciccocioppo R, Roberto M. Addict Biol. 2018 Mar;23(2):676-688. doi: 10.1111/adb.12525. Epub 2017 Jun 28. PMID: 28656627

Synaptic targets: Chronic alcohol actions. Roberto M, Varodayan FP. Neuropharmacology. 2017 Aug 1;122:85-99. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.01.013. Epub 2017 Jan 17. Review. PMID: 28108359

A Functional Switch in Tonic GABA Currents Alters the Output of Central Amygdala Corticotropin Releasing Factor Receptor-1 Neurons Following Chronic Ethanol Exposure. Herman MA, Contet C, Roberto M. J Neurosci. 2016 Oct 19;36(42):10729-10741. PMID: 27798128

Flyer

This seminar will NOT be livestreamed or recorded.