learning

Heidi Meyer Predoctoral Research Award

Heidi Meyer recently received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award.  This award is part of a family of grants provided by the United States National Institutes of Health for training researchers in the behavioral sciences and health sciences. They are a highly selective and very prestigious source of funding for doctoral and postdoctoral trainees. This award will allow Heidi to pursue research related to the mechanisms underlying the development of inhibitory behavior in rats. In particular, the experiments to be carried out under this award will incorporate viral mediated gene delivery systems (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs; DREADDs) as a mechanism for temporary modulation of targeted brain regions relevant to proactive inhibition. Additional experiments will also elucidate the behavioral factors that contribute to the delayed ability to withhold behavior observed during adolescence. Investigating the link between neurobiological and behavioral development may inform the identification and development of new treatments for addiction and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Travis Todd Postdoctoral Fellowship Award

Dr. Travis Todd, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Professor David Bucci’s laboratory, has received a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health.  Dr. Todd’s grant, entitled “Cortico-hippocampal Contributions to Context and Extinction Learning,” will focus on how a part of the brain known as the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) is involved in forming memories about fear-provoking stimuli.  Importantly, this work will also emphasize the neural substrates of fear extinction, an animal model of cue-exposure therapy in humans.  This research will provide a deeper understanding of cue-exposure therapy, a commonly employed therapy used to treat a variety of human disorders (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder: PTSD, anxiety related disorders, phobias). Further, by investigating a brain region (the retrosplenial cortex) that is known to be compromised in human disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, the proposed experiments may inform clinical practice and treatments for these disorders.