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Hermina Nedelescu.jpg

I am a neuroscientist working at the intersection of molecular neuroanatomy and behavior. My research interest is concerned with how experiences are instantiated in the brain's neurocircuitry to support maladaptive behavior relevant to human psychopathology.

The focus of my work is dedicated to understanding the neurobiological basis of substance use disorders including mechanisms that lead to the development of dependence, attachment and withdrawal states, craving, relapse, and cognitive impairment. 

As an undergraduate student, I studied Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Following a short period in Japan where I trained in molecular neurobiology with Dr. Yamamoto at the University of Osaka Medical School, I began my graduate training at New York University (NYU) as a master's student with Dr. Chiye Aoki focusing on fear learning relevant for anxiety disorders. My work at NYU had a profound influence in my developing an interest in experience-dependent neuroplasticity. 

For my doctoral work I was a Marie Curie and a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellow under the mentorship of Drs. Arbuthnott and Aoki, where I focused on structural neuroplasticity of neuronal populations that support acquired experiences including skills acquired during development.


Subsequently, I was awarded a post-doctoral JSPS Fellowship and was hosted by Dr. Sugihara at Tokyo Medical and Dental University to conduct brain-wide examinations of long-range axonal trajectories in their entirety, in order to access neural circuits in detail.

In 2017, I transitioned back to California to pursue my research goal of bridging neural circuit plasticity and behavior at The Scripps Research Institute. Currently, I am a Staff Scientist in the Department of Neuroscience investigating activity-based interrogations of groups of neurons - neuronal ensembles and engram cells - within discrete circuits to link activation of neurocircuits by environmental cues with drug-seeking behavior. I have a K01 grant from NIDA to study the control of opioid-motivated approach and avoidance behavior by neuronal ensembles. 

A full list of my publications can be found here.

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