Dr. Picciotto is Charles B.G. Murphy Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Pharmacology, and Neurobiology at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. She joined the Yale faculty in 1995, after having completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Jean-Pierre Changeux in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France. She earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University in New York City in 1992, where she worked in the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience under Nobel Laureate Paul Greengard. Between 1992 and 1994, she was an instructor for the summer neurobiology course at the Marine Biology Laboratories in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. She received a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, Stanford, California, in 1985.
Dr. Picciotto has been on the editorial boards of several leading peer-reviewed journals in neuroscience. Since 2006 she has been a Senior Editor of the Journal of Neuroscience and Handling Editor of the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research. She was elected a Councilor of the Society for Neuroscience in 2010. Between 2003 and 2007 she was a member of the Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior NIH Study Section. In 2000 she was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering by President Clinton and in 2007, she was honored with the Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Award for Innovative Research in Drug Addiction and Alcoholism by the Society for Neuroscience.
Dr. Picciotto's major area of study is in the neurobiology of psychiatric illness. Her areas of expertise are molecular neuroscience, behavioral pharmacology, mouse genetics, and translational neuroscience. The goal of her research team is to understand the role of single molecules in complex behaviors related to addiction, depression, and learning. She and her colleagues use molecular genetic and pharmacological approaches to link the biochemical, cellular, and anatomical levels of investigation to behavior. Of primary interest is the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in brain function and development. Dr. Picciotto’s laboratory also studies the role of galanin, a neuropeptide that protects against the development of addiction. Finally, her research team is interested in signaling molecules downstream of nicotinic and galanin receptors, such as calcineurin, CaM kinase I, and adducin, which may mediate long-term changes in behavior downstream of these receptors.