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.

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