Specifically, we investigate:

i) The neurobiological mechanisms involved in motivated behavior, and their modulation by stress and anxiety. We focus on the mesolimbic system and the role of mitochondrial function in effort-based motivated behavior and social hierarchy formation and maintenance.

ii) The mechanisms whereby early life stress enhances risk to develop psychopathologies, with a main focus on the emergence of sociability deficits and pathological aggression. We investigate the role of glucocorticoids in determining different neurodevelopmental trajectories following exposure to early life adversity. We also ascertaining the fat-to-brain pathways in the mediation of behavioral programming by early life stress.

Experimental approaches in the lab include a combination of behavioral, neuroimaging, electrophysiological, neurochemical, pharmacological, metabolic, genetic and optogenetic methods. We perform studies in rodents and translational work in humans using virtual reality, behavioral economics, experimental psychology (eye-tracking, computer-based tests) and neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI, MRI, 1H-MRS) approaches.