Research Grant Funded in the Biological Sciences Department

Functional Dissection Of Brain-Wide Circuits Modulating Recovery From Stress

Duboue Dr. Erik Duboué, Assistant Professor in the Wilkes Honors College and Jupiter Life Science Initiative faculty member, has received a three-year National Institute of Mental Health R15 research grant totaling $445,794. The project entitled “Functional Dissection Of Brain-Wide Circuits Modulating Recovery From Stress" takes an integrative approach, harnessing behavioral analysis, optogenetics, and two-photon, whole-brain calcium imaging in zebrafish to investigate the neuronal basis of stress recovery, an understudied phase of the stress response. Stress-related disorders, such as generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, are widespread, affecting over one quarter of the human population. Whereas much is known about how the brain drives stress responses, little is known about neuronal mechanisms that restore baseline states of behavior and physiology once the stressor has been evaded or removed. Nonetheless, recent studies suggest that dysfunction of neuronal mechanisms that promote recovery may underlie the etiology of stress-related disorders. This project will perform a genetic dissection of a neural circuit that modulates stress recovery and how this circuit fits into a larger, brain-wide circuit modulating recovery. The findings in this study may further our understanding and aid in the treatment of stress-related disorders.