NEUROMODULATION OF LEARNING AND PLASTICITY

We study how neuromodulators influence learning, and through which neural mechanisms. We employ various behavioural tasks in rodents to measure aversive, appetitive and spatial learning. We monitor learning-related neural activity at multiple levels: intrinsic and synaptic plasticity, structural plasticity, activation of 'memory engrams' (c-Fos staining) and neural ensembles (multi-neuron recordings). We manipulate neuromodulatory activity using pharmacology, pharmacogenetics and optogenetics and assess the effects of these manipulations on behaviour and neural activity. Finally, we take advantage of novel optical sensors to record neuromodulatory release with high spatial and temporal resolution. At present, we place particular focus on serotonin.

 

TECHNIQUES

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LEARNING TASKS IN RODENTS

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PATCH CLAMP ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY

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PHARMACOLOGY

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OPTOGENETICS / PHARMACOGENETICS

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IMMUNOHISTOCHEMISTRY

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IMAGING OF NEURAL ACTIVITY

 

Related publications

Sengupta A, Bocchio M, Bannerman DM, Sharp T, & Capogna M. Control of amygdala circuits by 5-HT neurons via 5-HT and glutamate co-transmission. The Journal of Neuroscience, 37(7), 2238–16.

Bocchio M, Fisher SP, Unal G, Ellender TJ, Vyazovskiy VV & Capogna M. Sleep and serotonin modulate paracapsular nitric oxide synthase expressing neurons of the amygdala. eNeuro, 3(October).

Bocchio M, McHugh SB, Bannerman DM, Sharp, T., & Capogna, M. Serotonin, amygdala and fear: assembling the puzzle. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 10, 10:24.

Bocchio M, Fucsina G, Oikonomidis L, McHugh SB, Bannerman DM, Sharp T & Capogna  M. Increased serotonin transporter expression reduces fear and recruitment of  parvalbumin interneurons of the amygdala. Neuropsychopharmacology, 40(13), 3015–3026.