DATE & TIME
Thursday 23 November
cocktail from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm
interactive talk and Q&A from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
37 Charles Street
London W1J 5ED
Part 1: The state of knowledge, a view into the future
Part 2: Habits, Compulsions & Addictions
Part 3: TBC
BRAIN NEUROSCIENCE: HABITS, COMPULSIONS AND ADDICTIONS
In the past 10 or 15 year, there’s been a shift in thinking about addiction, to a new appreciation that it is, at its root, a maladaptive form of learning. And like learning to ride a bike, addiction is not quickly unlearned.
If you think quitting is a simple matter of willpower, you’re in good company. More than a third of the general public agrees, according to a 2008 survey by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. But it’s tougher than that…
Addiction was once defined in terms of physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as nausea and cramps in the case of heroin or delirium tremens in the case of alcohol, which reflect physiological changes within cells of an addict’s body. It’s now seen as changes in brain circuits, or combinations of neurons; in other words, the very neurophysiological changes that result from learning and experience. You crave, seek and use a pernicious drug again and again because you have a memory of it being more wonderful than anything else, and because your brain has been rewired so that, when exposed to anything that reminds you of the drug, you will feel rotten if you don’t get some. And these are symptoms of a brain disease.
Dr. Ami Citri was born and raised in Jerusalem to a family of biological scientists. Ami’s mother, Dr. Naomi Zyk, and father, Professor Nathan Citri, worked together at the Hebrew University’s medical school, studying the enzymes responsible for bacterial resistance to antibiotics. His brother, Dr. Yoav Citri, completedPh.D.s PhD studies at the Life Sciences Institute of the Hebrew University and was later a senior scientist at The Weizmann Institute, studying the genes enabling brain plasticity.
Following his military service as an intelligence officer, Ami studied biology at the Hebrew University in the “Etgar” program for exceptional students, finishing his degree requirements summa cum laude. He continued his M.S. and Ph.D. studies under the supervision of Professor Yosef Yarden at the Weizmann Institute, studying the molecular mechanisms leading to the rapid division of cancer cells. During these studies, Ami identified novel approaches to therapeutically target cancer cells, and developed new methodologies to study genetic networks important for the function of all human cells. For his postdoctoral training, Ami moved to Stanford University, to work with Professor Robert Malenka, a world-renowned leader in the study of brain plasticity in the context of drug addiction. In the Malenka lab, Ami acquired experience in molecular and cellular neurophysiology relevant to mouse models of drug addiction, and developed new molecular approaches to study genetic and neuronal networks important for the formation of addiction.
In August 2012, Ami established his independent research group at the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences and the Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he focuses on studying the genetic networks that underlie addiction.
ELSC* is one of the top new Centre which aspires to revolutionize current neuroscience research. This Center will bring together a powerful interdisciplinary team of top scientists to explore the relationships between gene function, brain neuronal circuits, and behaviour.