BIOLOGY & BIOTECHNOLOGY SEMINAR:
"A neural basis for threat-related behavioral diversity within and across the sexes"
Rebecca M. Shansky, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Hosted by: Associate Professor Jagan Srinivasan
My lab combines confocal microscopy with classical Pavlovian fear conditioning and extinction to study how neural structure relates to function. We use targeted fluorescent microinjections to examine the neuroanatomical features of retrogradely labeled or genetically tagged subpopulations of cells. Recently, we found that prefrontal-amygdala circuit morphology corresponded to extinction failure or success in males, but not females. This led us to wonder whether we were truly measuring the same behavioral processes in both sexes. By revisiting our behavioral videos and data sets, we found that successful extinction in females, but not males, was predicted by the presence of an active, escape-like response during fear conditioning (“darting”). We are now working at multiple levels—from machine learning-based behavioral analyses to neural activity assays—to better understand darting. How does it relate to the parameters of fear conditioning? What neural circuits are involved? Does it predict active vs. passive responding in other standard behavioral paradigms? Can we get males to dart? In this talk, I will share our progress in answering these questions.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019 @ 4:15 p.m.