Aline Pichon

Aline Pichon
PhD Student

After my B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Lausanne, I specialized in Medical Biology and Pharmacology and became interested in the mechanisms of sensory perception.

I conducted my Master thesis at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, in Marie-Christine Broillet’s group, where I studied the cellular pathway mediating the transduction of sweet taste in mice. The project combined behavioral observations and different techniques of cellular imaging (Calcium Imaging, confocal microscopy and fluorescent immunohistochemistry).

Current Research
As I wanted to understand brain functioning and sensory perception from a cognitive and affective perspective, I recently started a PhD on emotional preparedness in odors and influences of fragrances on mood, behavior and cognitive performance under the supervision of Patrik Vuilleumier and David Sander.
In order to evaluate the preparedness dimension in the olfactory system, our first study will assess the influence of odors in aversive conditioning, using behavioral, physiological and neuroimaging measures, and an MRI compatible olfactometer.
Follow-up studies will be designed based on the outcome of these first experiments. The results obtained may provide a new paradigm to test for emotional preparedness in olfactory stimuli, and gain new insights about factors that influence olfactory-mediated attention, by combining, for example aversive stimuli with a distractor such as emotional stroop or a dot probe.
Moreover, we are expecting to examine other effects of odor-elicited emotion on cognitive performance, attention, and mood, as well as the underling changes in brain activity and connectivity.