Véronique Deroche-Gamonet PhD, HDR

Course and current status


2018- Team Leader "Psychobiology of Drug Addiction", Neurocentre Magendie, Inserm U1215, Bordeaux, France.

2016- Nominated member of Inserm CSS4.

2015-2019 - Coordinator FRM project ("Nicotine addicts: are they all the same? A new preclinical model identifying subpopulations of nicotine users and user-dependent treatment effect")

2014-2018 - Coordinator ERA-Net NEURON CocAddict project (http://www.cocaddict-project.net/)

Since 2011 - Coordinator of a multicentre project for an Instrumental and procedural platform for innovation in experimental psychopathology in rodents (EquipEx OptoPath: https://optopath.equipex.u-bordeaux.fr/en/).

2011 – Research Director (DR2 INSERM)

Since 2007 - Leader of the Group Psychobiology of Addiction - Laboratory of Physiopathology of Addiction, NeuroCentre Magendie, Inserm U862, Bordeaux, France.

2003-2006 - Leader of the Group Psychobiology of Addiction - Laboratory of Pathophysiology of Adaptive Behaviors, Neurocentre Magendie, Inserm U588, Bordeaux, France.

1999-2002 – Promoted CR1 INSERM - Laboratory of Psychobiology of Adaptive Behaviors, Inserm U259, Bordeaux, France.

1999 - HDR – University of Bordeaux 2, France.

1994-1998 - Tenure researcher position (CR2 Inserm) - Laboratory of Psychobiology of Adaptive Behaviors, Inserm U259, Bordeaux, France.

1994 - Post-doctoral fellow - The Scripps Research Institute (Dpt of Neuropharmacology), La Jolla, California, USA.

1993 - Prix Jeunes Chercheurs de la Fondation Bettencourt-Schueller.

1993 - PhD Neuroscience and Pharmacology - Univ. Bordeaux 2, France.

1991 - MSc - Univ. Bordeaux 2, France

1990 - Master1 - Univ. Paris-Sud 11, France.

1989 - Bachelor - Univ. Rennes 1, France.

Scientific summary

Drug addiction is a major public health issue. Despite decades of fundamental and clinical research, effective treatments are still critically missing. My goal is to identify relevant therapeutic targets to for this deleterious psychopathology.

 I have been conducting experimental research on drug addiction since the early 90s. From 1990 to 2000, I contributed to decipher a physiopathological mechanism underlying vulnerability to drug use. I always challenged the classical experimental preparations used to model drug addiction, including my own preparations. Indeed, drugs of abuse have been shown to produce numerous behavioral and neurobiological alterations leading to distinct psychobiological theories of addiction. However little is known about the psychobiological mechanisms mediating transition from controlled to compulsive drug use, the hallmark of drug addiction. Which ones, among the numerous drug-induced alterations, are really involved in transition to addiction, is a critical question? Identifying the behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms which actually underlie this pathological shift would be a decisive step for the identification of relevant therapeutic targets. Therefore the major challenge of my research in the late 90s-early 2000s has been to work on developing a DSM-IV-based model of addiction in the rat. This research was fruitful, resulting in a major innovation, acknowledged worldwide as the first multi-symptomatic animal model of addiction (Deroche-Gamonet et al., Science 2004). Recently, this model led us challenging the popular view in the addiction field that drug-induced synaptic plasticity changes underlie the development of cocaine addiction. Instead, we showed that the development of cocaine addiction might be due to the inability of vulnerable individuals to reverse drug-induced neuroadaptations (Kasanetz*, Deroche-Gamonet *et al., Science 2010).

 Using our preclinical model, our research aims at identifying the psychobiological mechanisms involved in the pathological transition to addiction which occurs in 15 to 35% of the drug users, according to the drug. For this purpose, we use a top-down research strategy combining experimental psychology, ex vivo electrophysiology recordings, multi-sites in vivo electrophysiology recordings in freely moving rats, in vivo microdialysis and techniques of immunohistochemistry, molecular biology and pharmacology.

My long term goal is to apply, to other major public health issues, the fruitful strategy previously developed for addiction. In this context, I am the coordinator of the OptoPath project whose goal is to develop a platform dedicated to innovation in Experimental Psychopathology. Our aim is to create innovative procedural and instrumental tools to tacle two main obstacles that currently hinder our ability to identify relevant therapeutic targets: 1. The absence of high face validity models able to reproduce, in the laboratory, the complexity of the symptoms of these psychopathologies; 2. the lack of adapted technological tools able to appropriately investigate, in behaving animals, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of these behavioural pathologies. The substantial EquipEx funding of this project creates the conditions for shifting research from classical steady-state to discontinuous innovation, i.e. creating innovation, rather following it. Fourteen researchers and their teams, from two research institutes and 3 industrial partners join forces for the identification of new pertinent therapeutic targets in four key psychopathologies, i.e. addiction, obesity, PTSD, and aging-related memory deficits.

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