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Youna Vandaele

postdoctoral researcher

Lausanne University Hospital

I completed my PhD in 2014, in the laboratory of Serge Ahmed at the University of Bordeaux (France) and joined the laboratory of Patricia Janak lab for a 5-year postdoc at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA). I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at Lausanne University Hospital (Switzerland). The goal of my research is to understand the behavioral and neurobiological bases of maladaptive behaviors characterizing psychiatric disorders such as addiction using animal models. I am particularly interested in improving the translational validity of animal models of addiction, by testing reward seeking in more complex scenarios that better capture the reality of alcohol or drug use in individuals suffering from this disorder. One long-term goal of my research is to determine the mechanisms and level of control exerted by individuals over their own behavior in addictive disorders; shall we consider addictive behaviors as voluntary goal-directed choices or as automated pathological habits? Probably somewhere in between… My research aims at locating the cursor on this axis in different individuals, across different contexts, and across the history of addiction.

Youna Vandaele
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addiction, animal models, habit, choice, decision-making, neural activity


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