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Unit of Pharmacogenetics and Clinical Psychopharmacology (UPPC)
Unit for Research in Schizophrenia
Laboratory on Neurobiology of Aging
Laboratory on molecular mechanisms of gene regulation in reward-related learning and memory
Laboratory on Neurobiology of Addiction, Stress and Craving
Laboratory on the Neurobiology of Anxiety
Proteomics Unit: Service and Research in Psychiatric diseases
Unit for research in neuroethology of cognitive functions
Laboratory on Neurobiology of Depression
Center for the Study of Behavior
Conferences and Seminars

Center for Psychiatric Neurosciences                                                                             Français

Laboratory on Neurobiology of Addiction, Stress and Craving

Contact information :

Centre de Neurosciences Psychiatriques (CNP) &
Service Universitaire de Psychiatrie de l’Enfant et de l’Adolescent (SUPEA)
Site de Cery
CH -1008 Prilly-Lausanne       location plan
Tél.   ++41 (0)21 643 69 47
Fax : ++41 (0)21 643 69 50
E-mail :

Leader :

Benjamin Boutrel, PhD ; Senior Lecturer

Main Collaborators :

  • Clara Rossetti, technician, Lab Manager
  • Nadia Steiner, PhD Sudent (2007-2010)

Current and former students in the lab :

  • Giuseppe Spena, (February 2010 – December 2010)
  • Céline Tarditi Joz-Roland, student Master Psychology (January 2010 - June 2010)
  • Gabrielle Baechler, student Master Psychology (February 2010 – April 2010)
  • Jonathan Tschopp, student Master Medicine (November 2009 - April 2010)
  • Jennifer Silva, student Master Medicine (November 2009 - April 2010)
  • Vanessa Pierroz, student Master Biology (September 2009 - December 2009)
  • Céline Tarditi Joz-Roland, student Master Psychology (February 2009 - April 2009)
  • Yann Schrag, student Master Psychology (February 2009 - April 2009)
  • Sara Bernasconi, student Master Biology (February 2008 - January 2009)
  • Nicolas Perret, student Master Biology (February 2007 - January 2008)
  • Prisca Rigby, student Master Biology (September 2006 - December 2006)

Research projects :

Both natural reward (basic needs) and drugs of abuse work through common brain substrates. The current hypothesis confers to drugs of abuse the ability to hijack normal brain reward system which leads to the overpowering motivational strength and decreased ability to control the desire to obtain drugs that characterizes drug addiction. Drug abuse is a chronic relapsing disorder defined as a progressive neglect of alternative sources of reinforcement concomitant with the development of compulsive substance taking that persists despite evidence of harmful consequences. This inability to control substance taking is thought to be a complex disease process of the brain that results from recurring drug intoxication. Identification of brain mechanisms responsible for vulnerability to relapse is crucial for the development of effective treatments for drug addiction.

Our lab aims at developing relevant animal models for better understanding brain circuitries implicated in (aberrant) decision making processes.  Our goal is the identification of brain pathways triggering sustained reward seeking behaviors that may be responsible for drug abuse and pathological gambling. For the past years, we have mainly focused our approach on the implication of hypocretin/orexin peptides in the motivation for reward seeking in general, and drug taking in particular, and their key role on the orchestration of the appropriate levels of alertness required for the elaboration and the execution of goal-oriented behaviors.

Keywords :

addiction, cocaine, alcohol, prefrontal cortex, hypocretin, orexin, relapse, stress, vulnerability, rat gambling task, decision making.

International collaborations :

Dernière modification le 16.01.2012 - Impressum - Informations juridiques