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Project: Development of new algorithms and software to analyse and quantify social interactions and behavior

Host organisation: Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Supervisors: Prof. Alon Chen and Dr. Yair Shemesh

Brief biography: My name is Tommaso Biagini and I am a PhD student at the Weizmann Institute of Technology. I will be working in the lab of Prof. Alon Chen under the supervision of Dr. Yair Shemesh. My project will focused on the validation of a behavioural paradigm for PTSD and its correlation with some important cardiovascular parameters. In order to accomplish my goals, the project is going to be divided in two main areas: the behavioural setup and the recording and analysis of the data. The behavioural setup is obtained using the social boxes, a setup developed in Prof. Chen lab that monitor mice behavior continuously, automatically and under undisturbed semi-natural conditions. The second part is the monitoring of some cardiovascular parameters like blood pressure, heart rate, ECG and also EEG thanks to the telemetry system developed by the TSE Systems company that we are going to collaborate with. The main aim of this part is to understand clearly how the presence of PTSD can influence the cardiovascular system and which kind of correlation is present. At the same moment we are also very interested in the oxytocin signaling pathway because of the great amount of scientific literature that highlights the connection between PTSD and social deficits as well as oxytocin and social behavior.