2018 Travel Award Winners
2018 Travel Award Winners
Dr. Laís F. Berro is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Berro attended the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), Brazil, where she earned an Honors degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2011. As an undergraduate, Dr. Berro conducted research on the influence of different environmental stimuli on behavior in animal models of drug abuse. Dr. Berro also received her Master’s Degree (2014) and Ph.D. degree (2017) from UNIFESP with Dr. Monica L. Andersen, in collaboration with Dr. Leonard L. Howell at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University. Since her Master’s Degree studies, Dr. Berro’s preclinical research has focused on the investigation of the mechanisms underlying the relationship between sleep and drug abuse. Dr. Berro has a strong record of scholarly activity, having published over 30 research papers, 3 book chapters, as well as multiple abstracts at national and international scientific meetings. Dr. Berro has also received several honors and academic awards, including 2 undergraduate research Scholarships and a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. Fellowship. During her Postdoctoral studies with Dr. James K. Rowlett, Dr. Berro has continued her research investigating the relationship between the reinforcing effects of drugs, including psychostimulants and benzodiazepines, and their effects on sleep-wake cycles and sleep architecture. By understanding the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic vs abuse-related properties of those drugs, she hopes to provide important insights into clinical practice and drug discovery.
While pursuing my B.S. in Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, I found myself fascinated by the biochemistry driving motivated behaviors, and after graduation I took a position in Dr. Eric Nestler’s laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to continue my research pursuits. Here, I gained behavioral expertise in a mouse model of addiction that allowed me to ask scientific questions surrounding cocaine seeking and reward behavior. I then chose to complete my doctoral work at Michigan State University in order to continue addiction research under Dr. Michelle Mazei-Robison. Now, as a third year Ph.D. candidate in the Neuroscience Program I am continuing to learn key biochemical and behavioral assays used to study substance abuse. My current work focuses on how morphine- and cocaine-induced neuroadaptations in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) contribute to behavioral outputs associated with addiction.