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NSB Seminar – Anthony Burgos-Robles – 5/15
May 15 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Weds May 15, noon
Tobin Hall 423
Anthony Burgos-Robles, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Amygdala-prefrontal dynamics controlling fear
during health and stress-induced disease
Abstract: Fear is a crucial emotional response that promotes safety and survival, as it allows individuals to properly respond to threat and danger in their environment. Yet, when fear becomes excessive and uncontrollable, especially on individuals experiencing too much stress and anxiety, fear becomes pathological and increases vulnerability for the development of psychiatric disorders. Despite much research, we are still obtaining new insights on the neural circuit dynamics underlying the regulation of fear during both healthy and disease mental states. In my talk, I will introduce an amygdala-prefrontal circuit that is essential for the regulation of fear in humans and many other mammal species. Focusing on animal models, I will then describe how fear-related information flows across this neural network during conflicting motivational states that involve food-seeking in the presence of imminent danger, and how we can use simultaneous amygdala-prefrontal neural data to effectively decode animal behavior. I will also show new evidence on how amygdala-prefrontal dynamics get affected during chronic exposure to psychological stress, leading to increased vulnerability for enduring fear dysregulation. I will conclude by presenting novel ideas on how we can combine electrophysiological, imaging, and genetic tools in vivo to further identifying specific neural populations as well as larger neural networks exhibiting vulnerability to chronic stress, and to manipulate specific circuits to try preventing stress-induced deficits of fear and other motivated behaviors.