About the Organizers

Andrea Sgoifo

Andrea Sgoifo studied Biology at the University of Parma and obtained his Ph.D. degree (1993) in Cardiovascular Pathophysiology at the University of Milano, Italy. Subsequently, he was in charge of a postdoctoral project on stress physiology at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, mentored by Jaap Koolhaas. Since 1998 he holds a staff position (currently associate professor of Physiology) at the Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability (University of Parma). He is scientific coordinator of the Stress Physiology Lab at the University of Parma and of the Stress Control Lab at the Italian College of Osteopathy. AS has been interested for a long time in the behavioral and physiological consequences of adverse social conditions. All across his research activity on rodents, he made use of environmental challenges that resemble everyday-life pressures in animals living in complex social organizations, namely psychosocial adverse circumstances, either acute or chronic. He contributed to the view that social defeat and subordination represent a very robust stressor for male rodents, producing neuroendocrine activations (large increments of circulating catecholamines and glucocorticoids), cardiac autonomic neural changes (severe tachycardia, reduced heart rate variability, prominent vagal withdrawal) and cardiac electrophysiological instability (occurrence of arrhythmias), as well as long-lasting consequences on a number of physiological and anatomical cardiac parameters, such as heart rate circadian rhythms, ventricular fibrosis, cardiac hypertrophy. In parallel, he also conducted studies on humans, where the main goal was to link physiological indices of acute stress responsivity with individual differences in the style of behavioral coping with stressors. He has (co-)authored 90 scientific peer-reviewed articles, his citation score is above 3400, his H index is 30.

Sietse F. de Boer

Sietse F. de Boer studied Biology at the University of Groningen and obtained his Ph.D. degree (1990) in Psychophysiology & Pharmacology at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. Subsequently he pursued a postdoctoral study in behavioral neurophysiology with Rita Valentino and Gary Aston-Jones at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, USA. Since 1992 he holds a staff position (currently at the associate professor level) at the Behavioral Neuroscience cluster of the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His main focus of research, which generally reflects a passion for understanding human brain & behavior, is to unravel the neurocircuitry of specific brain areas and its molecular signals underlying the formation of social hierarchies and of aggressive and defensive behaviors. Disruptions of these “fight & flight” neural circuits are known to underlie neuropsychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety and violence that take a tremendous toll on our societies. Currently, various molecular components that control the dynamic signaling properties of the brain monoamine neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine as well as of the brain neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin are under investigation. Special emphasis is given to the variations in the structure and function of these neural mechanisms that gives rise to the important individual differences that exist in feral rodent species when coping with social conflict and adversity. For translational psychopharmacology purposes, an active research line is pursued to assess the behavioral, autonomic physiological and neuroendocrine properties of several novel compounds from industry. He has (co)-authored over 150 scientific peer-reviewed articles and book-chapters with a total citation score of over 12000 and h-index of 56.