Sun. 10/20 & Tue 10/22 - Presenting our work at SFN

We’re off to the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago. If you’re at the meeting, you can find Becky presenting her collaborative work with Dr. Nesha Burghardt and our lab during Sunday’s morning poster session, and Carolina, Rebecca, and Itzik (showing his work done in collaboration with Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary’s lab) in Tuesday’s afternoon session.

October 20, 8am - 12pm

151.15 Serotonin input to the dorsal BNST contributes to sex differences in fear learning

R. Ravenelle, H. Yoon, E. Likhtik, N.S. Burghardt

Tuesday, October 22, 1-5pm

593.22 Infralimbic projections to the basal forebrain regulate fear extinction recall.

C. Fernandes-Henriques*, R. Zhang-Shen*, I. Grunfeld, M.B. Corniquel, N. Burney, S.X. Lei, M. Labkovich, D. Semidey, E. Likhtik

593.23 Auditory safety training improves novel auditory discrimination learning and sensory discrimination curves.

I. Nahmoud, J.G. Vasquez, H. Cho, T. Dennis-Tiwary, E. Likhtik

New paper out: Neuromodulation in circuits of aversive emotional learning

This month’s issue of Nature Neuroscience focuses on Learning and Memory, hitting a lot of nails on the head around this sprawling topic - from Brain Machine Interfaces, to links between pain processing and learning, to sleep, to development, neurogenesis, and mechanisms of memory retrieval. In our review paper with Joshua Johansen (Riken), we focus on the variety of roles that the neuromodulators acetylcholine, noradrenaline, and dopamine play in circuit function during aversive emotional learning. We discuss how these different neuromodulatory systems can increase the gain of a signal, improving signal-to-noise during learning, how their modular organization allows for context-dependent learning modes, and how their patterns of innervation can bind distal regions during learning, when circuit communication incorporates new patterns of activity.


Friday 9/27 CNC Seminar - Salvatore Dura-Bernal, 10am

Data-driven multiscale modeling of cortical circuits, Salvatore Dura-Bernal (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)

The Graduate Center (34th St. & 5th Ave), Room 6304.01, 10-11:30am


Salvatore Dura-Bernal’s research focuses on understanding cortical circuits through large-scale biophysically-detailed simulations on supercomputers. He has developed the most detailed model of mouse primary motor cortex (M1) circuits by integrating experimental data available at multiple scales -- molecules, neurons, networks and systems. The model provides insights into cortical dynamics, physiological oscillations, information flow and molecular neuromodulatory mechanisms, which has helped develop new hypotheses and guide experimentation. He also developed a software tool ( for multiscale modeling of brain circuits. It has already been used worldwide in over 20 labs, to train students and to investigate different brain regions and phenomena. The tool can help to better understand neural brain function and disorders, and aid in developing novel pharmacological or neurostimulation treatments.


Toward an animal model of borderline personality disorder

Our review, Toward an animal model of borderline personality disorder, is now out in the Computational and Translational issue of Psychopharmacology. In it, we collaborated with Dr. Koenigsberg, a clinician studying mood disorders at Mt. Sinai, to come up with a clinically relevant animal model for studying molecular and circuit-level changes in Borderline Personality Disorder, in order to move forward with better targeted therapies.

Special thanks to Morgan Corniquel for her drive to bridge the two sides of her MA thesis to collaborate on this topic!

Tue. 5/28 Seminar at 1pm by Raviv Pryluk

Raviv Pryluk (Weizmann Institute of Science), Room 926HN, 1-2pm

A Tradeoff in the Neural Code Across Regions and Species

In the first part of the talk I'll discuss how there exists a tradeoff in the neural code where human neurons utilize information capacity (efficiency) better than macaque neurons, and cingulate cortex neurons are more efficient than amygdala neurons in both species. On the other hand, amygdala human and monkey neurons show more synchrony and vocabulary overlap (robustness). In the second part of the talk I'll present our new data showing that there exists a shared neural code for eye-gaze and valence information in the primate amygdala.

Wed. 5/22 Biology Seminar, 1:15 pm - Meghan Lockhard

Meghan Lockard (Rockefeller University): “La Dolce Verma: Oxytocin, Dopamine, and their Role as Comodulators in Nematode Nooky”, 1:15 -2:15 pm, Rm. 926HN

Oxytocin has been known to the biomedical community for 150 years as being a regulator of complex reproductive behavior and physiological processes in mammals and other vertebrates, but evolutionary the neuropeptide emerged in metazoans about 700 million years ago, around the same time as bilateral symmetry. In every instance where it has been studied, from nematodes to humans, oxytocin homologs have been shown to play a role in mate search, mating, and/or provisioning of offspring. What is the basis for this genetic and functional conservation?  To address this, I looked at the functional role of oxytocin in modulating the mating circuit of the nematode C. elegans. Like its mammalian homolog, nematocin comodulates mating behavior with the nonclassical neurotrasmitter dopamine. Through genetics, neuronal imaging, and circuit manipulation, I show how the timing and levels of nematocin release are critical for the male to mate with coherence and momentum. Dopamine couples this release with specific stimuli from mating via the antagonism between a D1-like and a D2-like receptor expressed in the same nematocin releasing neuron, DVA.  The circuit serves as a model for how a simple, highly conserved repertoire of neuromodulators could generate some of nature's richest and most complex behaviors.

5/13 Biology Seminar 12pm - Mitchell Goldfarb

Looking forward to our own Mitch Goldfarb (Hunter College) share his recent work at the Biology Seminar, 12pm, Rm. 926HN

“FHF Modulation of Sodium Channel Inactivation Gating in Cardiac and Nerve Conduction: Empirical and Computational Findings”.