Team 'Neuronal circuits of associative learning', manager: Cyril Herry, PhD.
Our research project aims at understanding the functional, anatomical and physiological properties of specific prefrontal and amygdala excitatory/inhibitory neuronal circuits involved in the acquisition and expression of Pavlovian associative learning. To this purpose we use a combination of behavioral, extracellular and intracellular recordings techniques along with optogenetic manipulations of defined neuronal populations.
Researchers: Cyril Herry
Postdocs: Cecilia Gonzalez-Campo; Thomas Bienvenu
PhD: Julien Courtin
Research axis: Synapse / Normal and pathological cognition
Research Topics (FENS): Cognition and behavior / Cognition and animal behavior / Behavioral pharmacology / Motivation and feeling / Neurological and psychiatric conditions
Scientific expertise: neuronal circuits / neocortical circuits ; prefrontal cortex ; amygdale; memory and memory system ; neuronal plasticity ; fear auditory conditioning ; associative learnings of appetitive type ; associative learnings of aversive type ; fear conditioning extinction.
Technology expertise: quantitative analysis of animal behavior ; fear conditioning ; electrophysiology with animal behavior and in anesthetized; memory pharmacology ; optogenetic
Key words: conditioned fear / extinction / amygdale / prefrontal cortex
National and international collaborations: Pier Vincenzo Piazza - Véronique Deroche Gamonet (Bordeaux) / François Georges (Bordeaux) / Manuel Mameli (Paris) / Yann Humeau (Bordeaux) / Andreas Lüthi (Bäle) / Karim Nader (Montréal).
Financial Support: ERC starting grant-NEUROFEAR
Our research project aims at mapping prefrontal and amygdala circuits controlling fear behavior using a unique innovative cross-level approach combining cutting edge in vivo extracellular and intracellular electrophysiological recording techniques, selective optogenetic manipulations and behavioral approaches. Our scientific objectives are twofold: addressing the anatomical and physiological properties of defined excitatory/inhibitory mPFC circuits controlling fear expression and selectively manipulating these circuits during behavior. A thorough understanding of these amygdala and prefrontal neuronal circuits requires at least three critical additional steps. The first one is to identify the cellular constituents and the precise connectivity of prefrontal and amygdala neuronal circuits controlling fear behavior and to monitor the neuronal changes that occur in such circuits during the entire learning episode. The second step is to selectively manipulate the neuronal cell types that compose these circuits to ultimately establish causal relationships between fear behavior and the underlying neuronal activity. The third step is to get insight into the plasticity mechanisms underlying learning-dependent changes in fear behavior by studying how excitatory/inhibitory synaptic inputs shape postsynaptic responses of specific prefrontal and amygdala excitatory/inhibitory neuronal circuits controlling fear behavior. The expected results will provide a detailed knowledge of the cellular basis of fear behavior and of behavioral control in general. Moreover, elucidating the neuronal circuits controlling fear behavior should also lead to novel therapeutic strategies for psychiatric disorders involving dysregulation of emotional responses such as post-traumatic stress disorder and related psychiatric conditions.
Composition table of the team
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