"Acetylcholine as a neuromodulator: ACh signaling in the basolateral amygdala at baseline and in reward learning"
Marina R. Picciotto, PhD., Yale University School of Medicine
The goal of the Picciotto laboratory is to understand the role of single molecules in complex behaviors related to psychiatric illness. More specifically, the laboratory has focused on understanding how acetylcholine and its receptors shape neuronal function and behavior during development and in adulthood. The approach has been to use molecular genetic tools (transgenic mice, viral vector-mediated gene transfer) coupled with biochemical, pharmacological and behavioral analyses. We have demonstrated a critical role of specific nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in nicotine reward, providing a defined molecular target for pharmacological intervention for smoking cessation as well as identifying the anatomical basis for other behaviors related to the effects of nicotine and acetylcholine. We have taken clues from human smokers and epidemiological studies to identify functions of nAChRs in a number of normal behaviors and mouse models relevant for psychiatric illness. Ongoing projects in the laboratory include identifying circuits involved in the ability of nicotine and acetylcholine to enhance the rewarding value of natural rewards, studying how acetylcholine influences circuits involved in responses to stress, evaluating sex differences in nicotine and alcohol reward and stress-induced drug intake, and a speculative project on how acetylcholine coordinates brain and body responses to expected physical challenge.
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Richard B. Crouse, Kristen Kim, Hannah M. Batchelor, Rufina Kamaletdinova, Justin Chan, Prithviraj Rajebhosale, Steven T. Pittenger, Lorna W. Role, David A. Talmage, Miao Jing, Yulong Li, Xiao-Bing Gao, Yann S. Mineur, Marina R. Picciotto
Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 3:00pm to 4:00pmVirtual Event