Job ID: 85709

TO study the neurobiological basis of substance use disorders and chronic stress

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 26 August 2022

Employment Start Date: 30 November 2022

Contract Length: 3 years

City: Camerino

Country: Italy

Institution: University of Camerino

Department: School of Pharmacy


For the academic year 2022-23, a PhD program in “Theoretical and Applied Neuroscience” involving 24 universities and research institutions in Italy, has been activated. This consortium aims at providing a comprehensive training program in neuroscience  and it  is supported by  at least  44 scholarships to conduct research in the various fields of neuroscience.

Four these scholarships (3 years) are available to work in the laboratory of Prof. Roberto Ciccocioppo at the School of Pharmacy, Pharmacology Unit, at the University of Camerino, Italy

The laboratory, is conceived as a multidisciplinary environment to investigate complex questions in  neuroscience. The main research focus of the laboratory  is on the study of the neurobiological basis of abnormal behavior and brain functions relevant to human psychopathology with emphasis on motivation and reward-related disorders. The majority of this work is directed at the understanding the neurological mechanisms responsible for these aberrant behaviours and at identifying innovative pharmacological targets to aid the development of new more effective treatments.  Attention to the study of neurocircuitry and molecular mechanisms controlling emotional and cognitive disturbances associated with protracted exposure to drugs of abuse or chronic stress is also an important area of research. Over the years  this research team contributed to the  preclinical development of at least 3 compounds  that reached various clinical development stages. The team  consists of several  researchers, post-doctoral fellows and PhD students with different backgrounds including biology, pharmacology, philosophy,  psychology and physics.  Researchers have access to  1500 m2 of animal facility equipped  with 50 operant self-administration chambers, EPM equipments, Porsolt swimming tubes, open field arenas for social interaction, Noldus Etovision system for behavioral monitoring, and areas dedicated to surgical procedures etc. Fully equipped lab for immunohistochemistry, light, confocal and scanning electron microscopes are also available. One laboratory is equipped an Electrophysiological setup for patch-clamp recordings in slices. Finally, equipment for molecular and cellular studies is  available.

We utilize rodents self-administration assays to assess the reinforcing, motivational and drug-seeking effects of psychostimulants, opioids and alcohol, molecular biology and immunohistochemical techniques to assess cellular effects. We also use optogenetic and Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADD) to explore at neurocircuitry level the consequence of protracted exposure to drugs of abuse and to study how manipulation of circuitries involved in the regulation of motivated behaviour and emotion modulates seeking and taking responses for drugs of abuse as compared to natural reinforcers.


We are seeking a highly motivated candidate with experience in in vitro electrophysiology or behavioral/molecular pharmacology to integrate in our  research team.


Successful candidates should have:

  • experience with in vitro or in vivo brain electrophysiology
  • immunohistochemistry and use of viral vectors
  • Creative thinking skills, command of the neuroscience literature
  • Affinity for performing experimental animal research
  • Ability to work collaboratively with excellent communication skills
  • Proficiency in the English language

To apply:

For more information contact Roberto Ciccocioppo at: