Team 7: Synapses and pathophysiology of reward (Mameli)

Team leader : Mameli

The Mameli lab moved to Université de Lausanne


An unpredicted salient event – rewarding or aversive – triggers a rapid emotional reaction that has profound impact in making a future choice. The research objective in our lab is to decipher the hierarchical anatomical and functional organization as well as the cellular mechanisms underlying acute perception of reward and aversive events.


Our general interest is to dissect the neuronal circuits implicated in the encoding of salience-related events and to understand the role of synaptic modifications in mediating behavioral adaptations in physiological and pathological states including addiction.
Goal directed actions, aimed to obtain a reward or escape a danger, motivate our behaviors and influence our decisions. In this context midbrain dopamine neurons activity and therefore dopamine release are modified by rewarding and aversive stimuli as wells as external cues predicting them. Lateral habenula neurons play a central role in this regulation since they instruct dopamine neurons (as well as serotonin neurons) during salience encoding. A dysfunction in the output signal from the lateral habenula can be therefore at the basis of dysregulated dopamine signal and underlie neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by an abnormal reward signal (i.e. drug addiction).


We use an ex-vivo approach combining

  • in vitro patch-clamp electrophysiology
  • viral-based anterograde and retrograde tracing
  • optogenetics


Team leader : Manuel Mameli CR 1 INSERM

  • Salvatore Lecca Post doctorant
  • Frank Meye Post doctorant
  • Kristina Valentinova Doctorante