Dr. Fanselow's laboratory is interested in the nature and function of fear. A series of questions of particular interest is how fear is learned and how fear memories are stored in the brain. That research concentrates its efforts on forebrain regions such as the amygdala, hippocampus and neocortex. In terms of neurotransmitter systems we have been concentrating our effort on glutamate, GABA and acetycholine. More than simply tracing the circuits, we are trying to determine the specific contributions that different components of the circuit contribute to the complete experience of an emotional memory. Another important question is how fear memories are translated into specific behavior patterns. That work primarily focuses on the midbrain periaqueductal gray. The laboratory uses rat and mouse models featuring site specific pharmacological manipulations, focal brain lesions and genetic modifications. Much of the current work examines behavior in genetically modified mice. But our mission is to use every technique available to derive a complete understanding of fear-motivated behavior.
Key Research Areas:
Fear, learning, PTSD, stress, anxiety