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The psychological and neural basis of the individual vulnerability to compulsive disorders: new insights from preclinical studies.

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Drug addiction results from the interaction between a vulnerable individual, a drug and an environment which interactions and their contribution to the transition from volitional to compulsive drug seeking habits, the hallmark of addiction, are yet to be understood. However, over the last decade the development of novel preclinical models of addiction in rodents, factoring in the notion of inter-individual differences with the operationalisation of the main clinical features of addiction in humans have helped shed a new light on the mechanisms subserving this inter-individual vulnerability to develop compulsive drug seeking habits. Dr. Belin will review the psychological constructs of the most recent preclinical models of addiction and investigate the recent breakthrough in the psychological and neural substrates of the propensity to use drugs and to switch from controlled drug use to maladaptive drug seeking habits. In this process, Dr. Belin will especially discuss the role of dynamic functional shifts within the corticostriatal circuits that subserve the development of drug seeking

Bio D. Belin graduated in 2005 in Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology at the University of Bordeaux 2 in France. During his PhD he developed the first preclinical model of cocaine addiction based in the operationalization of multiple clinical criteria of the pathology as defined in humans. He then moved the laboratory of Pr Barry Everitt at the Department of Experimental Psychology of the University of Cambridge in January 2006. With his mentor he investigated the corticostriatal mechanisms of cocaine seeking habits and the relationships between impulsivity and compulsive cocaine self-administration, leading to a breakthrough in our understanding of the neurological and psychological bases of individual vulnerability to cocaine addiction. In 2009 he tenured at the INSERM and established his INSERM laboratory in Poitiers, France. In July 2011 he was distinguished with the Habilitation to Direct Research, the highest academic degree delivered in France. His INSERM team research program was ranked first during the national evaluation of the INSERM in 2012. It focused on the psychological, neural and cellular mechanisms of individual vulnerability to compulsive disorders and their modulation by the environment. While in France D. Belin also developed a European INSERM Associated laboratory with Pr Barry Everitt’s lab thereby pursuing a common research program on the corticostriatal mechanisms of addiction to various classes of drugs. In October 2013 D. Belin returned to Cambridge as a Lecturer in Neuroscience at the Department of Pharmacology. There he established his laboratory focusing on the neuropsychopharmacology of compulsive disorders. In October 2016, D. Belin will move to the Department of Psychology where he will consolidate his laboratory focusing on the psychobiology of compulsive disorders. Over the last ten years D. Belin has authored 40 publications and 12 book chapters and edited the Intech Book “Drug Addictions: from pathophysiology to treatment”. D. Belin is a former Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and has received the Mémain-Pelletier Award from the French Academy of Science and the Young Investigator Award from the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society. In 2015 he was elected one of the first 20 fellows of the FENS -Kavli network of Excellence (

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