“Dissecting the Neural Circuitry Underlying Motivated Behaviors”
(note: Dr. Li's talk begins at 11:07 after WSoE Welcome)
The basal ganglia and amygdala circuits have important roles in learning and expression of behavioral responses driven by either appetitive or aversive stimuli. How exactly distinct circuits contribute to the generation of such divergent behavioral responses remains unclear. Our recent studies in mice indicate that reward and punishment based learning induces distinct plastic changes in distributed circuits in the basal ganglia and the amygdala, and reveal how these learning-induced changes can be used to guide flexible behaviors. Here I will report our recent findings regarding the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying some of the behavioral roles of these distinct circuits.
“Differences in Wellbeing: What Do We Know About Genes, the Brain, and the Environment”
Happiness and wellbeing have emerged as important study subjects within and across many fields of research. A major driving force behind this is the association with physical and mental health and its pivotal role in socioeconomic issues and economic development. With the increased interest in the importance of wellbeing it is critically important to understand and reveal sources of individual differences.
Prof Meike Bartels will present her work on happiness and wellbeing that describing the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. She will present the current state of art within the field of behavioral and molecular genetic research into well-being, including twin-family studies and molecular genetic findings and the search for the exposome. She will furthermore explain the importance of her findings for individuals and the society at large.
“Early Emergence of Depression: Understanding Emotion Relevant Risk Factors and Treatment”
This talk with overview research on the psychological and neurobiological risk factors related to emotion processing and regulation that are associated with very early onset depression, with onset as early as preschool. These factors include reduced responses to rewarding outcomes associated with impaired activation of striatal and insular regions, increased responses to negatively valenced outcomes, also associated with disrupted amygdala, striatal and insular activation, impaired emotion regulation associated with decreased prefrontal activity, and disrupted connectivity between emotion reactivity and emotion regulation regions. I will also present results of a novel emotion regulation focused treatment for early onset depression and evidence for modulation of hypothesized neural targets as a function of treatment. Together, these data support the validity of early onset depression, and provide evidence for the emotion relevant psychological and neural factors that can be targeted by treatments and which may serve to identify children at risk for the development of early onset depression.
“Leveraging Community Engagement to Promote Mental Health Equity”
African Americans with depression are more impaired, have a longer illness course, and have more severe symptoms compared to White Americans. The purpose of this talk is to briefly review socio-ecological factors that contribute to mental health inequities and describe a novel, church-based depression intervention with a focus on engaging Black men in depression care.
“Toward an Integrated Understanding of Mind-Body Health: From Mechanisms to Interventions”
This talk will cover the bidirectional interactions between the brain and the immune system, using asthma as a clinical model to investigate the mechanisms that underlie the over-representation of psychopathology and cognitive decline in populations with chronic inflammatory disease. I will present data from a series of brain imaging studies that show that inflammation in the body can modulate neural responses to emotion and that neural responses to emotion can modulate inflammation in the body, with clinically meaningful consequences. I’ll also share work demonstrating that mental training can have descending impact on peripheral inflammation and disease-related outcomes. Finally, I’ll advance the hypothesis that the relationship between emotion and inflammation may portend a more fundamental neurodegenerative process, giving rise a range of poor outcomes, including dementia.