Please join us in Moore Filene Auditorium on Thursday, May 4, 2023, at 1:15 p.m., for a colloquium given by Steve Maren, Distinguished Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences at Texas A&M University.
Title: Brain Circuits for Silencing Fear
Abstract: Memories for emotional, particularly fearful, events are vivid, visceral, and enduring. Emotional memories enable us to predict and avoid potential threats, as well as respond to immediate danger. But dysfunction in this system can result in anxiety, panic and post-traumatic stress disorder. Extinction learning is critical for the suppression of pathological fear and is central to exposure-based therapies in humans. Here I will describe research in rats exploring the brain circuits regulating extinction learning and fear suppression. Importantly, in recent work we have shown that the thalamic nucleus reuniens is a critical hub for the suppression of fear memories. Specifically, the nucleus reuniens interconnects the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, two brain areas essential for extinction learning, and enables the prefrontal cortex to silence hippocampal-dependent fear memories. Silencing hippocampal-dependent fear memories may be the essential neural mechanism underlying effective behavioral therapies for pathological fear in humans.
For those who are unable to attend in person—you can join virtually here.