ICLM Journal Club
This Week - 22 October 2021 (9:30 a.m., via Zoom)
Speaker: Melissa Sharpe
Title: “ Past Experience Shapes the Neural Circuits Required for Future Learning ”
Abstract: Experimental research controls for past experience yet prior experience influences how we learn. Here, we tested whether we could recruit a neural population that usually encodes rewards to encode aversive events. Specifically, we found that GABAergic neurons in the lateral hypothalamus (LH) were not involved in learning about fear in naïve rats. However, if these rats had prior experience with rewards, LH GABAergic neurons became important for learning about fear. Interestingly, inhibition of these neurons paradoxically enhanced learning about neutral sensory information, regardless of prior experience, suggesting that LH GABA neurons normally oppose learning about irrelevant information. These experiments suggest that prior experience shapes the neural circuits recruited for future learning in a highly specific manner, reopening the neural boundaries we have drawn for learning of particular types of information from work in naïve subjects. For example, at UCLA, we are now investigating how the recruitment of LH GABA neurons to encode fear memories impacts on the relevance of traditional fear circuits in these memories, including the basolateral amygdala.
Relevant Papers: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-020-00791-4
The Integrative Center for Learning and Memory (ICLM) is a multidisciplinary center of UCLA labs devoted to understanding the neural basis of learning and memory and its disorders. This will require a unified approach across different levels of analysis, including;
1. Elucidating the molecular cellular and systems mechanisms that allow neurons and synapses to undergo the long-term changes that ultimately correspond to 'neural memories'.
2. Understanding how functional dynamics and computations emerge from complex circuits of neurons, and how plasticity governs these processes.
3. Describing the neural systems in which different forms of learning and memory take place, and how these systems interact to ultimately generate behavior and cognition.
History of ICLM
The Integrative Center for Learning and Memory formally LMP started in its current form in 1998, and has served as a platform for many interactions and collaborations within UCLA. A key event organized by the group is the weekly ICLM Journal Club. For more than 10 years, graduate students, postdocs, principal investigators, and invited speakers have presented on topics ranging from the molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, through computational models of learning, to behavior and cognition. Dean Buonomano oversees the ICLM journal club with help of student/post doctoral organizers. For other events organized by ICLM go to http://www.iclm.ucla.edu/Events.html.
Current Faculty Advisor:
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