Gabriella Gobbi obtained her MD (1991) and specialty in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (1995) at the Catholic University of Rome, Italy. She then obtained a PhD in Neuroscience in Cagliari with Prof G. Gessa. From 1998-2001 she finalized a post-doc at McGill University with Prof. Pierre Blier. She is now a Professor in Psychiatry at McGill University. Dr Gobbi is also a staff psychiatrist in the Mood Disorders Program, MUHC.
The laboratory, located in the Research and Training Building, has pursued and expanded the tradition of the Neurobiological Psychiatry Unit, one of the first translational psychiatry laboratories in Canada, founded in 1980 by Drs Claude De Montigny, Pierre Blier and Guy Debonnel.
The laboratory’s ‘bench to bedside’ approach bridges the gap between fundamental and clinical research. Psychiatric conditions affect 1 in 5 Canadians at any given point and 1 in 2 Canadians are or have been affected by mental illness by the time they turn 40 (source). Despite this staggeringly high incidence and its devastating impact, science still lacks a comprehensive understanding of how these illnesses manifest in the neurobiology. The goal of our lab is to elucidate the mechanisms underlying psychiatric illnesses, using both preclinical models and clinical research on patients living with these mental illnesses. Furthermore, we are exploring the therapeutic potential of psychoactive drugs that currently have no clinical use. Drugs such as cannabis, hallucinogens, and amphetamines have effects on the brain that overlap areas that are affected in psychiatric conditions. Therefore, there is a large potential that these drugs may enter clinical use if we are able to understand more about their mechanism and the conditions in which they can be safely administered. The techniques employed in the lab include optogenetics, in vivo electrophysiology, polysomnography, behavioural pharmacology and neurochemistry.