Seminar: Behavioral Interrogation of Neuronal Circuits Underlying Fear and Anxiety

Thursday, March 9, 2017
Güneş Ünal, Oxford University

Behavioral Interrogation of Neuronal Circuits Underlying Fear and Anxiety

Güneş Ünal


Behavioral responses elicited by fear and anxiety are critical for survival, while excessive fear and chronic anxiety in humans underlie mood and anxiety disorders. Therefore, understanding neuronal correlates (i.e. underlying brain circuits) of fear memory constitutes an important scientific objective. In this talk, I will describe a behavioral neuroscience research program aiming to identify, and reveal the function of, specific circuits between a major modulatory structure of the mammalian brain, the basal forebrain, and the amygdala and BNST, two inter-connected brain areas that primarily regulate fear and anxiety. I will first discuss a set of published and proposed anatomical studies that dissect specific behaviorally-relevant brain circuits. I will then explain how novel neuroscience methods can be utilized in behavioral paradigms in rodents to reveal the function of identified brain circuits in fear and anxiety. Finally, I will show electrophysiological data that links the activity of neurons in the tested brain circuits to the ongoing (i.e. in vivo) or past (i.e. ex vivo) experience of the animal. These research efforts will characterize brain circuits that are potential therapeutic targets for fear- and anxiety-related disorders.



Date: 03/09/2017

Time: 15:30

Place: Psychology Building Seminar Room