Dissecting the Organization and Function of Social Behavioral Circuits in the Amygdala

Dodge H. Teague, Jr. Grant Recipient
Dr. Weizhe Hong, Ph.D.
The Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles

Social interactions play a crucial role in the reproduction, survival, and physical and mental health of many vertebrate species including humans. Impairment in social behavior is a hallmark of several neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, depression, and schizophrenia. The amygdala is involved in regulating emotional processing and social behavior from rodents to humans. Dysfunction of the amygdala has been implicated in several neuropsychiatric disorders associated with social deficits. How the amygdala controls distinct social behavioral decisions is still not well understood. Deciphering this question could guide circuit-level investigation of disease mechanisms and development of interventions of mental disorders. We propose to integrate state-of-the-art techniques to comprehensively define neuronal cell types in the amygdala and to examine whether and how the activity of select, neuronal cell types controls distinct social behavioral decisions.

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…