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Alessia Mastrodonato

Columbia University: Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene
Inc.
New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI; U.S.A.)
Alexander Bodini Research Fellow in Developmental and Adolescent Psychiatry

Identifying the neural correlates of fear generalization during development

2019-2020
Fall and Spring

Dr. Alessia Mastrodonato works in Dr. Christine Ann Denny’s Laboratory at Columbia University as postdoctoral fellow. She got her degree in Neurobiology at Sapienza University of Rome and a PhD in Neuroscience at Catholic University School of Medicine in Rome.

Her work focuses on investigating the mechanisms underlying ketamine-induced stress resilience and how individual memories are modified by ketamine administration. She is author of several papers in high impact factor journals, but most importantly, within two years of joining her lab at Columbia, she has published two first-authored manuscripts in Biological Psychiatry and Scientific Reports and co-author a third manuscript in Neuropsychopharmacology. In 2017, she was awarded the Rotary Global Grant to investigate the brain circuits underlying ketamine prophylactic efficacy, and, in 2018, she was awarded the Sackler Award by the Sackler Institute of Developmental Psychobiology at Columbia University to investigate ketamine effects during adolescence. Alessia was recently awarded the 2018 Trainee Professional Development Award (TPDA) to attend the SfN 2018 Conference and present her work on prophylactic ketamine. In addition to research, Alessia also enjoys organizing events and activities for the Columbia Postdoctoral Society (CUPS) at Columbia University, as she was recently elected chair of networking and community building.

During her stay at the Italian Academy, she will focus on identifying the neural ensembles underlying fear generalization during development in a murine preclinical model. In particular, she will investigate the brain circuits underlying fear generalization through behavioral and whole brain imaging analysis.