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Florence Theberge"Role of memory reconsolidation and epigenetic regulation in cue-induced drug seeking"

Abstract :

In the first part of my talk, I will discuss my doctoral dissertation work performed at the University of Cambridge in which I employed various behavioral procedures to assess the role of the neuroplasticity-associated gene zif268 in the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens in reconsolidation of memories underlying cocaine-cues associations.
The main findings from this work are two-fold. First, zif268 knockdown in the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens at memory reactivation impaired the subsequent expression of a previously learned cocaine-induced conditioned place preference. Second, in contrary to the knockdown of Zif268 in the amygdala, the knockdown of Zif268 in the nucleus accumbens at memory reactivation did not affect the conditioned reinforcing properties of a CS previously paired with cocaine.

In the second part of this talk, I will present preliminary findings of my current postdoctoral research project at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In this project I study the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) in the amygdala in incubation of heroin craving (time dependent increases in cue-induced heroin seeking after withdrawal). 

Selected publications

The basolateral amygdala and nucleus accumbens core mediate dissociable aspects of drug memory reconsolidation. Théberge FRM, Milton AL, Belin D, Lee JLC, and Everitt BJ. Learning and Memory, 17 (9): 444-53, 2010

Scientific focus :

May 2009 – Present
Postdoctoral Fellow, IRP/NIDA/NIH, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Supervised by Doctor Yavin Shaham.
My postdoctoral project investigates the epigenetic modifications associated to the incubation of heroin craving in a rat model.
January 2005 – December 2008
PhD, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK.
Supervised by Professor Barry J. Everitt.
My PhD research investigated the neural basis of reconsolidation processes cue-drug memories, especially the molecular mechanisms underlying memory in the nucleus accumbens core (NAcbC).
MPhil Neuropsychopharmacology and Drug Addiction.
University Victor Segalen, Bordeaux 2, France.
Studentship, Experimental Psychology department, CNRS unit 6036, Rouen, France.
Supervised by Professor Jean Costentin. During my six months studentship, I set-up and validated a behavioural model of impulsivity (T-maze, delayed to reward) and investigated the influence of impulsivity level on drugs vulnerability.
MSc Molecular Biology and Physiology (First Class Honours)
University of Fundamental Life Sciences, Poitiers, France
Lab work experience, Physiology department, Faculty of medicine, Poitiers University, France.
Introduction to organ transplant fundamental research.
BSc Molecular Biology and Physiology (First Class Honours).
University of Fundamental Life Sciences, Poitiers, France.

Véronique Deroche-Gamonet