Mariella De Biasi, Ph.D.
Mariella De Biasi has made significant contributions to the nicotinic field by characterizing a number of nicotinic receptor mutant mice. Her laboratory unveiled the role of various nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes in autonomic function, the mechanisms of anxiety, and the brain circuits underlying nicotine withdrawal. The main focus has been the analysis of mice null for the α3, α5, and β4 nAChR subunits. Studies have indicated a prominent role for those subunits in the behavioral effects of both low and high nicotine doses as well as their specific influence on the physical manifestations of nicotine withdrawal. Dr. De Biasi's lab has either generated or acquired a number of viral vectors that we are using to change nAChR expression levels in the whole brain as well as in specific neuronal subtypes.