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Research Projects

Resting State fMRI in Adult Macaques: Validating an Approach

Early life stress and amygdala developmentWhat is resting state fMRI? What does it measure, and what constrains it? In humans, correlations between spontaneous activity in specific nodes of the CNS, measured via resting state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fMRI), are increasingly being tested as predictors of disease states or disease endotypes in humans.

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Early life stress and amygdala development

Early life stress and amygdala developmentGrowing up is hard to do, and for primates (including humans) progressing through childhood and adolescence takes a long time. During childhood and adolescence, brain regions grow and their connections are made and refined.  The relative immaturity of the brain at birth, and protracted dependency of the child on parents, makes studying primate models critical.

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Integrating social networks through the amygdala

Integrating social networks through the amygdalaThe salience network is an interconnected set of brain ‘hubs’ that active together during arousing emotional states.  In contrast, the ‘social’ brain hubs are considered more ‘cognitive’ and are active when subjects observe emotion in others. These networks appear to operate separately to tag different tasks at the cortical level in functional imaging studies.

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Dopamine and Stress: Circuits Through the Extended Amygdala

Dopamine and Stress: Circuits Through the Extended AmygdalaOver the last decade, the 'extended amygdala' has been implicated in fear/anxiety behaviors, attention-cognition, and appetitive behavior, including drug addiction. In 2000, we first focused on the potential impact of the extended amygdala on the dopamine system in primates(1, 2). Although the idea was novel—and somewhat controversial-- at that time, subsequent work from other laboratories and our own indicate that the extended amygdala-dopamine pathway is an important pathway mediating the effects of stress-induced behaviors, including depressive-like symptoms and drug-seeking.

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