Addiction & Risky Behaviors

Post-Doctoral Fellowships


Preventing and treating addiction by elucidating how the brain deals with uncertainty

Exploring how decisions are formed and modulated in the face of uncertainty

Dr. Fanny Cazettes' project will focus on two areas of the brain in particular : the prefrontal cortex and the premotor cortex, key regions for complex decision making as they orchestrate thoughts and action. To shed light on the brain's representation of uncertainty and the path to decision-making, Dr. Fanny Cazettes will use cutting edge technology to directly access and monitor the neural activity of mice while they are performing tasks that mimic the decision-making dilemma. "We hypothesize that there exist different neural signatures of uncertainty in the prefrontal areas responsible for outcome prediction and in motor regions involved in action selection", she explains. "We will then explore how serotonin, a neuromodulator implicated in a wide range of risky behaviours, affects representations of uncertainty in the frontal cortical regions". Specifically, Fanny Cazettes and colleagues will monitor serotonin release in the brain to investigate its role in regulating representations of uncertainty.
Addictive behaviours, like other psychiatric conditions, are no longer considered to be solely psychological disorders. Scientific research shows that these conditions also originate from cognitive disfunction, causing a person to persist in doing something regardless of the risk. To prevent and treat addiction, a precise understanding of how brain mechanisms affect and are affected by these pathologies is necessary. In this sense, Dr. Fanny Cazettes' research will contribute greatly to finding therapeutical strategies for addictive and risky behaviours, notably involving the use of serotonin, a neuromodulator used in antidepressants.



Champalimaud Foundation





ORCID Open Researcher and Contributor ID, a unique and persistent identifier to researchers