Lucia Carvelli, Ph.D.

Lucia Carvelli

Associate Professor of Neuroscience

Lucia Carvelli, Ph.D., joined the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College as a tenured associate professor and the FAU Brain Institute as an Investigator. Carvelli also holds a secondary appointment in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. After receiving a PhD in Pharmacology at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan (Italy), Carvelli pursued postdoctoral studies in molecular neuropharmacology with Aurelio Galli at the University of Texas in San Antonio, followed by studies in membrane physiology with Louis DeFelice at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. At Vanderbilt, supported by an NIH R21 award, she pursued single channel analyses of C. elegans dopamine transporters in cultured neurons using whole cell patch-clamp techniques and evaluated dopamine transporter regulation by synaptic proteins in the nematode in vivo.

Carvelli came to FAU from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Therapeutics; earning tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2016. Supported by an NIH R01 award, her current research investigates the synaptic and multigenerational actions of psychostimulants, with a particular focus on amphetamines.

Carvelli has had a paper accepted in the Journal of Frontiers in Physiology, the second most cited journal in the physiology field. Carvelli uses the worm model, C. elegans, to study the nuts and bolts of amphetamine action, and provides the first evidence for a role for the synaptic protein syntaxin in the drug’s behavioral action. Many know that amphetamine targets the dopamine transporter (DAT) to induce its behavioral actions. Less is understood about how other proteins that are found at the synapse collaborate with DAT to bring about amphetamine action. Carvelli’s research sheds new light on a topic of broad public interest and underscores the strong collaboration between the Brain Institute and the Wilkes Honors College.

She currently teaches upper-level neuroscience courses that challenge students to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills. She is excited to help grow the research and educational missions of the Wilkes Honors College and the Brain Institute.