Fernado Midea Cuccovia V Reis, PhD
Nancy and Jon Glaser Family Friends of Semel Scholar 2023-2025
Fernando Midea Cuccovia V Reis, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Psychology at UCLA. Dr. Reis received his Ph.D. in Psychobiology from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, investigating the neural bases underlying healthy and pathological states of fear and anxiety. His research focuses on characterizing neural mechanisms that control survival behaviors and underlie different emotional states. Combining the use of neural recording techniques and optogenetics in rodents, his current research aims to characterize how basic neural mechanisms related to positive and negative motivations interact during compulsive food-seeking behaviors. By decoding brain states using calcium imaging in the midbrain, he will identify patterns of activity specifically related to processing of negative and positive events associated to compulsive overeating. Using optogenetic techniques to manipulate cell activity, he will test causal relations between the midbrain neural activity and the occurrences of avoidant, appetitive and consummatory behaviors. The Nancy and Jon Glaser Family Friends of Semel Scholar Award will allow him to expand his research program to study midbrain circuits that can control reward seeking behaviors impervious to environmental adversity, capturing one element of their compulsive nature. The discovery of a specific neural circuit underlying compulsive food seeking and consumption could pave the way for the development of targeted drug therapies to effectively treat this problem.