Scientific Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Antonello Bonci, M.D.
Antonello Bonci, M.D.
Director, Intramural Research Program (IRP), NIDA
Chief, Synaptic Plasticity Section, IRP, NIDA
Scientific Council Member (Joined 2017)
Dr. Bonci joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2010 as Scientific Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). My laboratory was the first to demonstrate that drugs of abuse such as cocaine produce long-lasting modifications on the strength of the connections between neurons. This form of cellular memory is called long-term potentiation (LTP.) This finding cast a new light on the phenomenon of drug addiction, which may represent a process of maladaptive learning and memory at the cellular level. In turn, this information helped explain why drug taking can often become such a long-lasting phenomenon. Subsequently, my work has used a combination of electrophysiology, optogenetic, molecular and behavioral procedures to keep on studying the basic cellular mechanisms and circuits underlying stress, reward and substance use disorders. Finally, we are currently developing an optogenetic-based treatment against cocaine use disorders, by using a non-invasive technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation.
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