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Oct 26 2023

2023 Comer Undergraduate Seminar: “Decoding Neuromodulation of Valence in the Basolateral Amygdala” by Michael Bruchas (University of Washington)

October 26, 2023

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


ARC 241

Please join us on 10/26/23 at 12:30 pm for the 2023 Comer Undergraduate Seminar!  This years event will feature "Decoding Neuromodulation of Valence in the Basolateral Amygdala" by Dr. Michael Bruchas (University of Washington).

Bruchas lab

Host: Dennis Sparta

Abstract: The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is an evolutionarily conserved brain region, well known for processing threat, fear and even appetitive behavior. Despite this central role, the relationship between activity of BLA neuronal ensembles in response to appetitive and aversive stimuli and the subsequent expression of valence-specific behavior has remained elusive. Here we leverage 2-photon calcium imaging combined with single cell holographic photostimulation through an endoscopic lens to demonstrate a direct causal role for discrete ensembles of BLA neurons in the control of opposing behavior. We report that targeted photostimulation of individual groups of appetitive or aversive BLA neurons shifts behavioral responses toward those behaviors which recruited a specific consumption or avoidance ensemble. Understanding how BLA neuronal ensembles are altered by changes in input or gain control is a long-standing research question.  We investigated the relationship between locus coeruleus derived norepinephrine (NE) in the BLA as a function of regulating neuronal ensembles during approach and avoidance behaviors, and found using computational analysis with graph theory that NE causes BLA network activity to become more synchronized during discrete behavioral events.  Here we will discuss our recent efforts to understand BLA valence processing and the function of a critical neuromodulator system on regulation of BLA to ulimtately influence appetitive and avoidance behaviors.


Emily Beaufort

Date posted

Oct 21, 2022

Date updated

Oct 9, 2023