Source: Interfolio F180

Candice Contet

Associate Professor
Department of Molecular Medicine


Research Focus

The Contet laboratory investigates the molecular and circuit mechanisms mediating the behavioral effects of alcohol, with a focus on neuroadaptations driving excessive alcohol drinking. A first aspect of our research focuses on known molecular targets of alcohol, such as GIRK and BK channels, two potassium channels that can be activated by alcohol in vitro. Our goal is to assess the in vivo relevance of alcohol's action on these proteins by evaluating their contribution to acute intoxication, tolerance, drinking, and brain adaptations resulting from their chronic activation. A second aspect of our research explores the neurocircuitry mediating the role of the neuropeptide CRF in the transition to alcohol dependence and led us to investigate the influence of neuronal subpopulations of the parasubthalamic nucleus on motivated behaviors. Finally, we are undertaking exploratory projects, which aim to identify novel molecular determinants of excessive alcohol drinking using untargeted proteomics and network analysis. To achieve these goals, we use validated mouse models of differential alcohol intake, in combination with genetically engineered mice and viral vectors. 

Our laboratory is part of the TSRI Alcohol Research Center and our projects leverage collaborations with multiple laboratories, within and outside of Scripps, to complement our expertise in mouse behavior and genetic targeting with other relevant methodologies (e.g., electrophysiology, mass spectrometry, bioinformatics, chemistry).

Ultimately, our hope is to curb the devastating impact of alcohol use disorders on individuals, their family and the community as a whole, through the identification of vulnerable populations and the development of better treatments. If you share our dedication to this goal, you can help our research by making a donation to the Pearson Center. Your support will make a difference.


Contet Laboratory

Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research

Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA)

TSRI Alcohol Research Center

Research Society on Alcoholism

Society for Neuroscience

International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism

Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation

Potential Thesis Projects

• Functional significance of chronic activation of BK channels by ethanol in vivo • Astrocytic remodeling and role of mGlu3 in alcohol dependence • Role of glucocorticoid receptor-mediated mRNA decay in alcohol dependence


Ph.D. (Molecular and Cellular Biology), University of Strasbourg (France), 2006
M.S. (Chemistry and Biology), University of Paris (France), 2001
B.S. (Life and Earth Science), University of Paris (France), 1998

Professional Experience

2006-2007      Postdoctoral Scholar
University of California, San Diego (USA) – School of Medicine – Department of Psychiatry
Advisor: Dr. Athina Markou

2008-2011       Senior Research Associate
The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, USA) – Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, La Jolla, USA
Advisor: Dr. George Koob

2011-2016      Assistant Professor
The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, USA)       
Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders

2016-present  Associate Professor
The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, USA)       
2016-2017: Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders
2017-2019: Department of Neuroscience 
2019-present: Department of Molecular Medicine

Awards & Professional Activities

1998-2002       Predoctoral fellowship, as a student of the École Normale Supérieure
2002-2005       PhD fellowship from the French Ministry of Research
2006-2007       Postdoctoral fellowship from the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale
2011-2016       U01 award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
2015-present   Three R21 awards from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
2018-present   R01 award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
2022-present   R33 award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Professional Activities
2016-present Graduate Program Faculty at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla
2016    Editor for Elsevier’s International Review of Neurobiology Volume 128
2018    Ad hoc reviewer, NIH Neurotoxicology and Alcohol (NAL) Study Section
2019    Ad hoc reviewer, NIAAA Fellowships Review Panel
2020    Ad hoc reviewer, NIAAA Alcohol Research Centers Review Panel
2020    Guest editor for Brain Sciences Special Issue
2020-present Director-at-Large Cellular/Molecular, Winter Conference on Brain Research Board of Directors
2022    Ad hoc reviewer, NIH Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior (NMB) Study Section
2022    Ad hoc reviewer, Rutgers Addiction Research Center Pilot Grant Program
2023-present   Standing member, NIH Neuroscience and Behavior (AA-4) Study Section

Selected Publications

Kreifeldt, M.; Herman, M. A.; Sidhu, H.; Okhuarobo, A.; Macedo, G. C.; Shahryari, R.; Gandhi, P. J.; Roberto, M.; Contet, C. Central amygdala corticotropin-releasing factor neurons promote hyponeophagia but do not control alcohol drinking in mice.. Molecular Psychiatry 2022, 27, 2502-2513.

Shah, T.; Dunning, J. L.; Contet, C. At the heart of the interoception network: Influence of the parasubthalamic nucleus on autonomic functions and motivated behaviors.. Neuropharmacology 2022, 204, 108906.

Roberto, M.; Contet, C.; Woodward, J. J.; Roberto, M.; Contet, C.; Woodward, J. J.; Trenet, W.; Sibley, B. D.; Roberto, M.; Purohit, D. C.; Osorno, R. E.; Oliver, R. J.; Mandyam, C. D.; Contet, C.; Avchalumov, Y. Chronic ethanol exposure differentially alters neuronal function in the medial prefrontal cortex and dentate gyrus.. Neuropharmacology 2021, 185, 108438.

Zorrilla, E. P.; Okhuarobo, A.; Igbe, I.; Contet, C.; Bolton, J. L.; Baram, T. Z. A novel mouse model for vulnerability to alcohol dependence induced by early-life adversity.. Neurobiology of Stress 2020, 13, 100269.

Xu, J.; Ma, H.; Liu, X.; Baglieri, J.; Mccubbin, R.; Sun, M.; Koyama, Y.; Geoffroy, C. G.; Saijo, K.; Shang, L.; Nishio, T.; Maricic, I.; Kreifeldt, M.; Kusumanchi, P.; Zheng, B.; Kumar, V.; Zengler, K.; Pizzo, D. P.; Hosseini, M.; Contet, C.; Glass, C. K.; Liangpunsakul, S.; Tsukamoto, H.; Gao, B.; Karin, M.; Brenner, D. A.; Koob, G. F.; Kisseleva, T.; Roberts, A. J.; Rosenthal, S. B. Blockade of IL-17 signaling reverses alcohol-induced liver injury and excessive alcohol drinking in mice.. JCI insight 2020, 5, e131277.

Agoglia, A. E.; Zhu, M.; Ying, R.; Sidhu, H.; Natividad, L. A.; Wolfe, S. A.; Buczynski, M. W.; Contet, C.; Parsons, L. H.; Roberto, M.; Herman, M. A. Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Receptor-1 Neurons in the Lateral Amygdala Display Selective Sensitivity to Acute and Chronic Ethanol Exposure.. eNeuro 2020, 7, ENEURO.0420-19.2020.