February 2019

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2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series -- Katie Tschida (Duke University)
2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series -- Katie Tschida (Duke University) 3:30pm, Gilmer 190

DEPARTMENT of PSYCHOLOGY
2018-2019 COLLOQUIUM SERIES
presents

Katie Tschida, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Neurobiology
Duke University

“Mouse Love Songs:
Defining the Neural Circuits for Vocal Communication”

Vocalizations are an essential medium for communication in mammals ranging from mice to humans, conveying important information about the individual’s social status and affective state, as well as the presence of food, kin, or predators. Vocalization requires coordinated phonation, articulation, and respiration and involves a neural network that spans the forebrain and brainstem. A key region in this network is the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG), which serves as an obligatory node for vocal control in primates, cats, and rodents. Despite the PAG’s importance for vocal production, the identity of the PAG neurons involved in vocalization has remained elusive.
Here we used an intersectional genetic “tagging” method to identify a subset of PAG neurons in male mice that are selectively activated during the production of ultrasonic courtship vocalizations (USVs). Genetic silencing of PAG-USV neurons rendered males unable to produce courtship USVs and impaired their ability to attract females. Conversely, activating PAG-USV neurons selectively triggered USV production, even in the absence of any female cues. Optogenetic stimulation combined with axonal tracing indicate that PAG-USV neurons gate downstream vocal patterning circuits. Indeed, activating PAG neurons that innervate the nucleus retroambiguus, but not those innervating the parabrachial nucleus, elicited USVs in both male and female mice. These experiments identify a dedicated and specialized population of PAG neurons that are required for the production of male courtship USVs, demonstrate the communicative salience of male USVs in promoting female affiliation, and map a broader PAG-to-hindbrain circuit whose activation gates USV production in both male and female mice.

Monday, February 4, 2019
3:30 p.m.
Gilmer 190

Coffee/cookies at 3:15pm.
Reception will be held after the talk.

3:30pm, Gilmer 190
 
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2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series -- Adema Ribic (Tufts University School of Medicine)
2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series -- Adema Ribic (Tufts University School of Medicine) 3:30pm, Gilmer 190

DEPARTMENT of PSYCHOLOGY
2018-2019 COLLOQUIUM SERIES
presents

Adema Ribic, PhD
Research Associate
Department of Neuroscience
Tufts University School of Medicine

“Synaptic Brakes on Neuroplasticity:
Mechanism of Critical Period Closure in Visual Cortex”

Neural connectivity is robustly restructured in response to environmental factors during defined developmental windows. Heightened neuroplasticity during these critical periods is essential for establishment of circuit function and tapering of developmental plasticity is thought to stabilize mature circuits. However, increased stability of mature circuits also limits their experience-driven plasticity. Mechanisms that control critical periods have been extensively studied using sensory systems, particularly visual system. Rising levels of cortical inhibitory tone during development open the critical period for vision and refine visual function, but it is unclear how visual critical period closes. The goal of my research is to define mechanisms that stabilize circuits during critical period closure and that limit remodeling in adult brain. My recent research indicated that cortical connectivity is stabilized by Synaptic Cell Adhesion Molecule 1 (SynCAM 1/CADM1), a synapse-organizing protein that mediates synapse development and remodeling across different brain regions. SynCAM 1 selectively controls the development of subcortical inputs from the visual thalamus onto cortical inhibitory Parvalbumin interneurons, and loss of SynCAM 1 from Parvalbumin interneurons retards the development of cortical inhibition. Mice deficient in SynCAM 1 expression have immature visual function and increased visual plasticity at all ages, indicating that synaptic adhesion limits circuit plasticity. Even a brief loss of SynCAM 1 in Parvalbumin interneurons elevates plasticity in adult mice, suggesting that plasticity in the mature brain is actively restricted through SynCAM 1. These results identify a synaptic mechanism for closure of developmental windows of plasticity, as well as a synaptic brake that limits plasticity in the mature brain.

Monday, February 11, 2019
3:30 p.m.
Gilmer 190
Coffee/cookies at 3:15pm.
Reception will be held after the talk.

3:30pm, Gilmer 190
 
2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series and Aston-Gottesman Lecture Series present Peter Zachar (Auburn University in Montgomery)
2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series and Aston-Gottesman Lecture Series present Peter Zachar (Auburn University in Montgomery) 3:30pm, Gilmer 190

DEPARTMENT of PSYCHOLOGY

2018-2019 Colloquium Series and the
Aston-Gottesman Lecture Series present

Peter Zachar, PhD
Department of Psychology
Auburn University in Montgomery

“Scientific Conventions: Psychiatric Classifications as Both Definitions in Disguise and Descriptions”

In 1905 the mathematician and philosopher of science Henri Poincare advanced the hypotheses that geometry and some of the laws of physics are conventions, by which he meant neither purely logical, nor founded on experience. Poincare’s ideas were widely disseminated and, in the 1920s and 1930s, subsumed into the philosophy of science. Conventionalist notions are dispersed throughout philosophy and are implicit in a wide variety of claims about the interaction of empirical and non-empirical factors in theory choice. Nevertheless, certain key features of Poincare’s conventions have receded farther into the background. These include being definitions in disguise; being neither true nor false, being not arbitrary – freely chosen but selected for convenience; and being not subject to correction by experience. After a brief review of scientific conventionalism, I will attempt to elucidate some obvious conventions and some possible conventions in psychiatric classification with respect to Poincare’s key features. As it turns out, in psychopathology, operational definitions play both definitional and descriptive roles. As open concepts they may be treated as conventions yet are always potentially subject to correction by experience.

Peter Zachar, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology at Auburn University Montgomery. He was the chair of the psychology department from 2003-2011, is currently the Associate Dean in the College Sciences, and the President of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry. His primary scholarly interests are on philosophical issues in psychiatric classification and psychopathology. Zachar is the author of over 100 publications, including Psychological Concepts and Biological Psychiatry: A Philosophical Analysis (John Benjamins, 2000), and A Metaphysics of Psychopathology (MIT Press, 2014).

Friday, February 15, 2019
3:30pm
Gilmer Hall, Room 190
Enhanced refreshments/reception to follow

3:30pm, Gilmer 190
 
 
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2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series -- Y. Kate Hong (Columbia University)
2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series -- Y. Kate Hong (Columbia University) 3:30pm, Gilmer 190

DEPARTMENT of PSYCHOLOGY
2018-2019 COLLOQUIUM SERIES

presents

Y. Kate Hong, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Neuroscience
Columbia University

“What is the Role of Primary Somatosensory Cortex?”

For all of our senses, the causal role of primary sensory cortex in detecting stimuli remains controversial. I will discuss the effects of both acute and chronic inactivation of primary somatosensory cortex in mice trained to perform a detection task with opposing results. This work challenges the commonly held cortex-centric view of sensory perception, suggesting a larger role for subcortical pathways in sensory-guided behavior.

Monday, February 18, 2019
3:30 p.m.
Gilmer 190

Coffee/cookies at 3:15pm.
Reception will be held after the talk.

3:30pm, Gilmer 190
 
 
 
2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series --Yi Gu (Princeton University)
2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series --Yi Gu (Princeton University)

DEPARTMENT of PSYCHOLOGY
2018-2019 COLLOQUIUM SERIES
presents

Yi Gu, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Princeton University

“Visualizing the Spatial Map in the Brain”

The ability of knowing where we are and finding our way during spatial navigation is closely associated with an “inner GPS” in the brain, the hippocampal-entorhinal circuit. The medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) contains “grid cells”, which have one of the most mysterious activity patterns in the brain, as their firing fields lie on a triangular lattice when animals navigate in an open arena. These grid cells together may serve as a coordinate system allowing precise positioning during navigation. Here I will present my study on grid cells in understanding the formation of their activity patterns and their roles in path integration. First, combining cellular-resolution two-photon imaging and virtual reality, I revealed a topographical map of grid cells in the mouse MEC according to their firing properties. This map contributes to a foundation for evaluating circuit models of grid cell network and is consistent with continuous attractor models as the mechanism of grid formation. Second, I discovered a novel cell type, “cue cell”, in the MEC. Cue cells specifically encode landmark information during virtual navigation and are potentially important for correcting errors in grid cell network during path integration. In my future laboratory, I will develop multifaceted research programs to understand the MEC in health and disease at the circuit and molecular levels.

Thursday, February 21, 2019
3:30 p.m.
Gilmer 190

Coffee/cookies at 3:15pm.
Reception will be held after the talk.

 
 
 
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2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series -- Benjamin Scholl (Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience)
2018-19 Department of Psychology Colloquium Series -- Benjamin Scholl (Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience) 3:30pm, Gilmer 190

DEPARTMENT of PSYCHOLOGY
2018-2019 COLLOQUIUM SERIES

presents

Benjamin Scholl, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

“The Neural Population Within a Neuron:
Synaptic Building Blocks of Cortical Selectivity”

Monday, February 25, 2019
3:30 p.m.
Gilmer 190

Coffee/cookies at 3:15pm.
Reception will be held after the talk.

3:30pm, Gilmer 190