Nencki Institute Seminar

Dear All

on behalf of prof. Katarzyna Radwanska, I would like to cordially invite you to the next Nencki Institute Seminar that will take place on May 18th in the CN hall at 3pm.

We will host prof Markus Heilig who is a Vice-Chancellor’s Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience at Linköping University in Sweden.

Prof Heilig's research is centered on regulation of negative affect in addictive and anxiety disorders. His research strategies span from target identification in preclinical models to human mechanistic and therapeutic studies.

Prof. Heilig will give a lecture entitled: Neurobiological Mechanisms of Individual Vulnerability to Alcohol Addiction-like Behaviors.


Despite major advance in the neuroscience of alcohol addiction, no mechanistically novel clinical treatments have been approved in the past two decades. Furthermore, promising candidate medications emerging from basic science have failed in clinical development. In attempting to understand this translational gap, we identify some potential limitations of common research strategies. First, only a minority of regular users develop addiction, yet research has sought to identify underlying neurobiological mechanisms without taking in account individual variation. Second, alcohol addiction reflects a shift in behavioral choices, in which alcohol is increasingly chosen at the expense of alternative, healthy rewards; yet mechanisms of alcohol self-administration have typically been studied in the absence of alternative rewards. Finally, addiction is characterized by continued use despite negative consequences, yet in most preclinical studies, self-administration of alcohol has no consequences other than obtaining alcohol. This lecture will summarize a line of research in which we have attempted to address these issues. This work has pointed to GABA-ergic transmission in the Central Nucleus of Amygdal (CeA) as a key mechanism in alcohol addiction, and as a promising target for novel pharmacotherapeutics.


The lecture will be followed by a get together.

With kind regards
Aleksandra Pękowska

Date of publication
12 May 2023
Date of event
Nencki Institute