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Personal profile

Research interests

Insights gained into CNS mechanisms underlying emotional behaviours are important in the development of strategies to improve emotional disorders and animal welfare. Little is known about the way central ‘emotional’ circuits engage with the motor system to generate the highly characteristic responses essential for survival (i.e. fight, flight or freezing).

My project explores and characterizes relationships between the cerebellum and key components of survival networks. I’ve been identifying neural pathways between cerebellum and periaqueductal grey (PAG) with neuronal tracers (AAV(1)-CAG-tdTomato and AAV(r)-CAG-GFP), and with electrophysiological mapping in an anaesthetised animal to identify direct or multisynaptic functional connections.

I’ve recently started using chemogenetic approaches in awake freely moving rodents during fear behavioural paradigms (e.g. fear conditioning, predatory odour) to investigate the behavioural function of the identified pathways.

I’ve also been analysing LFP activity from these areas (cerebellum and PAG) to investigate their dynamics and how these dynamics change with different aspects of defensive behaviours. In the future months I will be adding more brain regions to the analysis, to have a more complete picture of the dynamical changes of the fear network.

I will then use the LFP signals to develop and test Dynamic Causal Models (DCM) of connectivity.

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Research Output

  • 3 Article (Academic Journal)

Impaired glucocorticoid-mediated HPA axis negative feedback induced by juvenile social isolation in male rats

Paci, E., 19 Feb 2018, In : Neuropharmacology. 133, p. 242-253

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Modulation of Rat 50-kHz Ultrasonic Vocalizations by Glucocorticoid Signaling: Possible Relevance to Reward and Motivation

Simola, N., Paci, E., Serra, M., Costa, G. & Morelli, M., 1 Jan 2018, In : International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 21, 1, p. 73-83 11 p., pyx106.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Open Access
  • 9 Citations (Scopus)
    169 Downloads (Pure)

    Sex differences in the outcome of juvenile social isolation on HPA axis function in rats.

    Pisu, MG., Garau, A., Boero, G., Biggio, F., Pibiri, V., Dore, R., Locci, V., Paci, E., Porcu, P. & Serra, M., Apr 2016, In : Neuroscience.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)


    • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course

    Early career investigators’ grant funding workshop: The role of the cerebellum in fear circuits.

    Charlotte L Lawrenson (Organiser), , R Apps (Participant), , Bridget Lumb (Participant), & Elena Paci (Participant)

    1 Jul 20182 Jul 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course