My main research interest is to understand the neurobiological substrates underlying social behaviour and how alterations in neural mechanisms caused by pharmacological, environmental or genetic factors modify normal social interactions and lead to psychopathology.
During my Ph.D., I used a rodent model of reactive aggression (a main component of a variety of psychiatric disorders) and targeted pharmacological techniques to investigate how alterations in the interactions between various neural systems exacerbated aggression levels towards conspecifics. Then, in my first post-doc, to further explore the neural substrates underpinning social perception, I used a novel approach which combined molecular techniques (siRNA) with fMRI in awake rodents, to investigate the role of vasopressin and oxytocin in social recognition of familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics, and in the context of mental illness, particularly autism.
The research line of my current post-doc involves studying the neural mechanisms of shared affect, particularly the role of emotional MNs, on social interactions using a rodent model of pain and combining a variety of techniques including, PET and electrophysiology.
Carrillo, M., Ricci LA, Melloni RH. (2011). Glutamate and the aggression neural circuit in adolescent anabolic steroid-treated Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). Behav Neurosci 125:753-63
Carrillo, M., Ricci, L.A., Melloni, R.H. (2010). Glutamate-vasopressin interactions and the neurobiology of AAS-induced offensive aggression. Neuroscience, 2011;185:85-96.
Carrillo, M., Ricci, L.A., Melloni, R.H. (2010). Developmental and long-term effects of adolescent AAS exposure in the glutamatergic system. Behavioral Neuroscience, 2011;125:452-464.
Carrillo, M., Ricci, L.A., Schwartzer, J.J., & Melloni, R.H. (2010). Immunohistochemical characterization of 5-HT3A receptors in the Syrian hamster brain. Brain Research,2010;1329:67-81.
Carrillo, M., Ricci, L.A., Coppersmith, G.A., & Melloni, R.H. (2009). The effect of increased serotonergic neurotransmission on aggression: a critical meta-analytical review of preclinical studies. Psychopharmacology, 205:349-368
Carrillo, M., Ricci, L.A., & Melloni, R.H. (2009). Adolescent anabolic androgenic steroids reorganize the glutamatergic neural circuitry in the hypothalamus. Brain Research, 1249:118-27.