“The program is truly multidisciplinary, so you are exposed to many different aspects of neuroscience, both through courses and the seminar series.”
Role of acid sensing ion channels in fear related behavior
My lab uses genetic manipulation in mice to study the effects of Acid Sensing Ion Channels (ASICs) on behavior.
Because one of these channels, ASIC1, is abundant in the amygdala complex, we tested whether it plays a role in Pavlovian fear conditioning. We found that ASIC1a knockout mice have reduced fear conditioning, whereas transgenic mice overexpressing ASIC1a have increased fear conditioning. These data suggest that ASICs may play an important role in fear, and raise the possibility that they might contribute to anxiety disorders in humans and might provide a pharmacological target for treating anxiety. Ongoing studies in my lab are exploring these possibilities.