Group Leader of the Neurobiology and Physiology group at Public Health England, Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (PHE CRCE)

Curriculum vitæ

Didcot, United Kingdom
Nora @ bourbia . eu

I am the group leader of the physiology and neurobiology group at the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE) of Public Health England (PHE, Chilton, UK).

Academic education

Mars 2016 – November 2018: Postdoctoral fellow at MRC Harwell studying neurobehavioral genetics.
2015: PhD in neurophysiology of pain at university of Helsinki (Finland). Title: Central nucleus of the amygdala in descending control of pain-related behavior.
2009: Master’s degree in cellular and integrative neurosciences (distinction: “assez bien”) at University of Strasbourg (France).
2007: Bachelor’s degree in Physiology and cellular biology at Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg (France). 


    • Research project management: Literature review, hypothesis and protocols designing, collecting and analysing data, with a focus in the field of neurophysiology and genetics.
    • Technical skills: Behavioral assessment of rodents, electrophysiology, histochemistry, plasmid cloning, qPCR.
    • Teaching

Doctoral Thesis

    • Research project management
    • Surgery: Spared nerve injury and intracerebral placement of guide cannulae
    • Behavioral studies: Sensory-discriminative and emotional aspect of pain; Motor coordination test
    • Electrophysiology : Extracellular recording with Spike 2 software
    • Data and statistics analysis with Graphpad Prism software

Research internships

January-June 2009 – Department of physiology; University of Helsinki – Supervisor: Antti Pertovaara Topic of research: Involvement of CRF-BP in amygdala on pain.

  • Surgery: Spared nerve injury and intracerebral placement of guide cannulae
  • Behavioral tests: Von Frey filament test and place avoidance paradigm test
  • Electrophysiology: Extracellular recording
  • Data and statistics analysis

June-July 2008 – Department of nociception and pain; University of Strasbourg – Supervisor: Pierre Veinante Topic of research: Neuroanatomy of amygdala.

  • Drugs injection by Hamilton syringe and iontophoresis
  • Histochemistry and Immunochemistry

June – July 2006 – Institute of primatology in Strasbourg – Supervisor : Bernard Thierry Topic of research: Exchange capacity between primate and human beings. (In acknowledgments: Anim Cogn. 2010; Long-tailed macaques display unexpected waiting abilities in exchange tasks; Pelé M1, Dufour V, Micheletta J, Thierry B.)

  • Training Macaca Fascicularis to exchange an object for food and then food for food
  • Protocol: Measure waiting time to exchange their usual food for sweets

Scientific publications in refereed journals

  • Bourbia N, Chandler P, Codner G, Banks G, Nolan PM., The guanine nucleotide exchange factor, Spata13, influences social behaviour and nocturnal activity, Mamm Genome. 2019 Apr;30(3-4):54-62
  • Bourbia N, Pertovaara A, Involvement of the periaqueductal gray in the descending antinociceptive effect induced by the central nucleus of amygdalaPhysiological Research. 2018 Aug 16;67(4):647-655.
  • Sagalajev B, Bourbia N (share the first-authorship), Beloushko E, Wei H, Pertovaara A, Bidirectional amygdaloid control of neuropathic hypersensitivity mediated by descending serotonergic pathways acting on spinal 5-HT3 and 5-HT1A receptors, Behav Brain Res. 2014 Dec 31;282:14-24.
  • Bourbia N., Sagalajev B., Pertovaara A., Descending effect on spinal nociception by amygdaloid glutamate varies with the submodality of noxious test stimulation, Neuroscience Letters. 570 (2014) 26–31.
  • Bourbia N., Ansah OB., Pertovaara A., Corticotropin-releasing factor in the rat amygdala differentially influences sensorydiscriminative and emotional-like pain response in peripheral neuropathy, J Pain. 2010 Dec;11(12):1461-71.
  • Ansah OB., Bourbia N., Goncalves L., Almeida A., Pertovaara A., Influence of amygdaloid glutamatergic receptors on sensory and emotional pain-related behavior in the neuropathic rat, Behav Brain Res. 2010 May 1;209(1):174-8.

Short review

  • Bourbia N., Pertovaara A., Is finding the common biological link(s) between pain and affect an infinity quest? Scand J Pain. 2011 doi: 10.1016/j.sjpain.2011.05.001.


  • Gonçalves L., Bourbia N., Viisanen H., Ansah O.B., Almeida A., Pertovaara A., Amygdala in the control of neuropathic pain, 4th International Congress on Neuropathic Pain (May 23-26, 2013, Toronto, Canada, pages 53-57). Medimond, International Proceedings Division.

Oral presentations

  • Joint meeting of the Federation of the European physiological societies (FEPS) and European Young Physiologist Symposium (EYPS), Budapest (Hungary), 27-30 august 2014. FEPS Award for young investigators.
  • European Pain School 2011: Bridging molecules and mind, Siena (Italy), 11-19 June 2011.

Poster presentations

  • FENS Regional Meeting, Pécs (Hungary), 20-23 September 2017
  • 6th Cambridge Neuroscience Symposium 2017: Neural Networks in Health and Disease, Cambridge (UK), 7-8 September 2017
  • 9th Neuroscience Ireland Conference, Dublin (Ireland), 1-2 September 2015.
  • Brain and Mind (B&M) Symposium 2014, Kirkkonummi (Finland), 11-12 September 2014.
  • Annual conference of the Scandinavian Physiological Society, Stockholm (Sweden), 22-24 August 2014.
  • Joint Meeting of the Scandinavian and German Physiological Societies, Copenhagen (Danemark), 27-30 March 2010.
  • 7th Forum of European Neurosciences (FENS), Amsterdam (Netherlands), 3-7 July 2010.


  • FEPS Award for young investigators presented at European Young Physiologist Symposium (EYPS), Budapest (Hungary), 2014.
  • Winner of the academic poster presentation at the WorldCon 75, Helsinki (Finland) for presenting (talk and poster) my research in this World Science-Fiction Convention in 2017.
  • Runner-up (2nd) with commendation letter for the MRC CEO Awards 2017 in the category Public Engagement.
  • Winner of the MRC Harwell Institute Awards 2017 in the category Public Engagement.


Research project grants

  • Finnish cultural foundation, stipend, 22000 euros / year, April 2013 and April 2014
  • Emil Aaltosen säätiö, stipend, 20000 euros, April 2012,
  • Yrjö ja Tuulikki Ilvosen rahasto, stipend, 12000 euros, October 2011


  • CIMO Scholarship, 13200 euros, October 2009 to September 2011
  • ERASMUS scholarship, internship stipend, 4800 euros, January to June 2009

Travel grants

  • IBRO (International Brain Research Organization), travel grant, 600 euros, 2017
  • Chancellor’s (University of Helsinki) travel grant, 800 euros / travel, 2010, 2014 and 2015
  • Scandinavian physiology society, travel grant, 1000 SEK, 2010

Public engagement grant

  • MRC public engagement funding, grant to attend the WorldCon75, 250 pounds, 2017


Problem-based learning teacher to students in Master’s Degree in Translational Medicine (TRANSMED) at university of Helsinki. Topic : Urinary physiology ; year : September 2014 and September 2015.


French (mother tongue), fluent in English and basics in Finnish.


  • Sport : Blue belt in Haidong-Gumdo
  • Crochet, scalemail and wire weaving, and sewing: all of my craft projects can be found on my blog (FR)
  • Stargazer with a reflector telescope dobsonien Skywatcher Skyliner 20/1200 and a refractor telescope Skywatcher Evostar-90 on EQ-2 mount
  • Robotics : My current project is to build a “Dalek” which says “exterminate” when it detects a motion. Here a video of the 1st part of the projet : “Motion and Exterminate
  • Reading : mainly science-fiction
  • Science lover : I am interested in all science fields from astronomy to zoology. I also did few popular science podcasts (FR)
  • Chili growing in various hydroponic systems
  • Amateur photography : I am a beginner and my photoblog is PixHell.net
  • Music : Playing mainly bass and drums, also guitar and violin
  • Role playing game : I have a preference for narrative-focus RPGs like Conan, Mutant: Year zero or Deadlands
  • Board game and video game player : I play different types of games with a preference for civilization and 4X simulations ; FPS and player-cooperation / teamwork games ; Point’n’Click adventure games


  • B category driving licenses
  • C-category (scientist) competence to work with laboratory animals according to EU Directive’s (2010/63/EU): rodents and fishes
  • Personal licence for working with laboratory animals in UK: PIL A, B and C for mice.
  • First-Aider