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Project

Social behavior and ultrasonic vocalizations in rodents

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is among the most heritable neuropsychiatric dysfunctions and increasing evidence indicates that abnormal development of cortical inhibitory circuits and the disruption of excitation and inhibition balance are central to disease pathogenesis. While available evidence points to a complex set of genetic factors, Reelin (RELN) has emerged as a key candidate gene. Yet the exact relationship of how genetic mutations relate to circuit formation and behavioral alterations relevant to ASD remain completely unknown. Due to the multifaceted functions of Reelin in different cell types, we still do not know which cell type is most affected and drives changes in circuits and behaviors that are relevant to ASD. The lack of a clear (endo)phenotype significantly hinders the development of disease-modifying therapeutics. This project aims at bridging this gap by interrogating the function of a prominent ASD-associated gene, reelin, in a cell type specific manner, in order to map inhibitory cortical circuit development to behavioral changes.

Date:1 Feb 2022 →  Today
Keywords:Ultrasonic Vocalizations, Social Behavior, Autism, Fear Conditioning, Social Fear
Disciplines:Animal experimental psychology , Behavioural neuroscience, Behavioural biology, Biological psychiatry, Psychopharmacology, Cognitive neuroscience
Project type:PhD project