Chemogenetic dissection of sex-specific fear circuits

2016 Seed Grant
Rebecca M. Shansky, Ph.D.
Northeastern University

Although a majority of the population will experience a severe trauma at some point in their lifetime, only about 10% of those people will go on to develop PTSD, which suggests that there are discrete neurobiological factors that confer susceptibility or resilience. Because PTSD is more prevalent in women, identifying sex-specific mechanisms of fear and emotion regulation is critical to the development of more personalized disease prevention and treatment. We recently discovered that a subset of female rats display an active fear response that is not observed in males. A better understanding of the neural circuits that mediate this novel behavior could lead to insight into what makes women susceptible to or resilient against PTSD. This seed project will begin to define the role of prefrontal cortex circuits in fear response strategies, and lay groundwork for future investigations into the cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate the switch between active and passive fear responses.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
Exercise is important for the health of the body and the mind. Exercise promotes learning and reduces symptoms of brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it…
William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…