Chiara Milia


Born in Roma on 3/10/1990, I studied Psychology at La Sapienza University of Rome, where I got a Bachelor of Science in 2012 in Psychological Sciences and Techniques for the Analysis and  the Evaluation of Cognitive Diseases, and a Master of Science in 2014 in Cognitive Neurosciences and Psychological Rehabilitation, focusing on preclinical research and working on animal models of amphetamine addiction. From December 2014 until now I am a PhD student in Neuroscience at Milano-Bicocca University and I am working at Rottapharm Biotech S.r.l., a PhD’s research partner, where I have been studying behavioral and biochemical effects of new analgesics on animal models of inflammatory chronic pain.


Evaluation of pain components (peripheral vs central sensitization) in models of musculoskeletal diseases. A study towards new therapeutics

  • Curriculum: Experimental Neuroscience
  • Tutor: Gianfranco Caselli

Chronic pain is a cross-pathology symptom which implies long lasting hyperexcitability of the central nervous system. This phenomenon gives rise to hyperalgesia, allodynia and referred pain, all alterations of the pain threshold, which represent a major problem in clinical patients because no long-lasting effective analgesic is still available: in fact, the most used analgesic drug, morphine, has important side effects such as addiction and increasing tolerance, which remain still unsolved and ask for an alternative drug. The aim of this project is to find and evaluate alternative or synergistic analgesic drugs that can avoid or limit opiod use in pain therapy. In this perspective, a new imidazolinic analgesic drug, CR4056, will be tested on an animal model of inflammatory chronic pain (Complete Freund’s Adjuvant-induced pain) exploring behavioral, biochemical and physiological changes occurring when pain is established and when it’s relieved by analgesic drugs.


January-July 2016: Erasmus+ Traineeship at Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, Department of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research

Project title: “The role of hippocampal astrocytes in the formation of contextual fear memories”, mentored by Michel van den Oever.

During this stage I could learn how to use DREADDs, a new chemogenetic tool which allows researchers to control the activation of specific subpopulations of cells in vitro and in vivo.