Dipartimento di Scienze biomediche

Education and Training

1982- MD, University of Cagliari

1991- PhD in Neurosciences, University of Cagliari

1990-1992 Visiting Scientist Department of Psychiatry, Division of Neurological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Canada

1993-  Assistant Professor, University of Cagliari

Dr. Collu (MD, PhD in Neuroscience) has been involved in various fields of research. First, as behavioural pharmacologist she studied the involvement of dopamine in the rat behaviour. Subsequently, she switched to study the involvement of dopamine in the mechanism of action of antidepressants. As Visiting Scientist at the University of British Columbia, Dept. of Psychiatry, Division of Neurological Sciences, Vancouver (Canada) directed by H.C. Fibiger she improved her skills in several behavioral methods (Conditioned Place Preference, Intravenous Self-Administration, Operant Behavior) and in intracerebral microdialysis in freely moving rats. More recently she has been carrying out research on the modulation of rewarding system by chronic fluoxetine.

 Research activity

Another line of research has been studying the interactions between the neurotrophic factor BDNF and the dopaminergic system both in the mechanism of antidepressant drugs and in the pathophysiology of depressive illness. In collaboration with Prof Marco Riva (University of Milan) she has been involved in studying the behavior of FGF-2 KO mice, and more recently in studying the effects of prenatal treatment with CB1 receptor agonists on the expression of BDNF in several rat brain areas.

 Starting a collaboration with Dr MS Ristaldi (CNR, Cagliari) in 2001 and using a multidisciplinary approach that combines genetic, molecular, biochemical, behavioral and electrophysiological methodologies her research line is based on the creation of genetically modified mice in which the function of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor is altered in a spatially- and temporally-regulated manner (preliminary results presented at the XIV World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics Cagliari 28 ottobre – 1 Novembre 2006). After having obtained the inducible reversible CB1 KO mice with a mutation in the extracellular terminus of the CB1 receptor (part of the results have been accepted for publication in PLoS ONE 2012 (Marongiu et al., 2012 Reversible Disruption of Pre-Pulse Inhibition (PPI) in Hypomorphic-Inducible and Reversible CB1-/- Mice) with their characterization still proceeding, in collaboration with the Institut Pasteur and Dr Ristaldi is now generating the transgenic mice inducible and reversible CB1 KO without the mutation.

In the 2013 Dr Collu started collaborating with Dr M.D. Setzu (Physiology Division at the Department of Biomedical Sciences) on Drosophila melanogaster for studying the behavioral effect of memantine in the Shaker mutant. Preliminary results for such have been presented at the FENS 2014 (Drosophila Shaker mutants as model of bipolar disorder: effects of memantine on activity and sleep patterns. Now research using the drosophila melanogaster is in progress to study sleep and behavioral disorders affected by lithium treatment.

She is also involved in studying the different role of cholesterol metabolism in vitro models of cancer (Dr. Barbara Batetta, PI).


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