Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Sofia Schlozman.
2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Human Biology
Mentor: Robert Malenka, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

“Investigating Circuitry Accounting for MDMA’s Addictive and Prosocial Effects”

MDMA, or “ecstasy”, is a drug of abuse with potential therapeutic benefits for conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Because these benefits are thought to be rooted in MDMA’s effects on sociability, engineering effective therapies requires separating MDMA’s prosocial effect from its high abuse potential. Using whole-brain unbiased maps of neural activity and data analysis techniques, Sofia will compare activity maps generated in different drug-induced states in mice to isolate circuits that account for MDMA’s addictive and prosocial effects. Her project will involve mentored use of several established software packages for image analysis, as well as formal instruction in relevant programming languages such as python and RL.