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

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The role of microglial lysosomes in selective neuronal vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the nervous system constructs internal models of the external world
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the orchestra of movement—functional role of striatal astrocytes in health and disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…