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Lab News

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 3:20pm

 Congratulations to Phillip Baker for his reappointment as a Postdoctoral Fellow on a Molecular Basis of Drug Abuse Training Grant!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 6:30am

 Yong will receive 1 quarter of RA support to help him with his effort to complete his dissertation work and work that extends beyond the domain the research in the lab.


Saturday, August 24, 2013 - 11:40am

Wambura Fobbs has been reappointed as a predoctoral fellow on the UW Neurobiology Training Grant.  She was also selected as a Neuroscience Scholar via the Society for Neuroscience, Neuroscience Scholars Program (http://www.sfn.org/index.aspx?pagename=NeuroscienceScholars_Main) which is designed to enhance career development and professional networking opportunities for underrepresented students in neuroscience.  Congratulations Wambura!


Saturday, August 24, 2013 - 11:33am

Congratulations to Yong Sang Jo and our former undergraduate, Jane Lee, on their article being featured in the May 8, 2013 issue of Journal of Neuroscience!

 

Abstract

Dopamine (DA) cells have been suggested to signal discrepancies between expected and actual rewards in reinforcement learning. DA cells in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) receive direct projections from the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a structure known to be one of the brain areas that represents expected future rewards. To investigate whether the mPFC contributes to generating reward prediction error signals of DA cells, we recorded VTA cells from rats foraging for different amounts of reward in a spatial working memory task. Our results showed that DA cells initially responded after the acquisition of rewards, but over training, they exhibited phasic responses when rats detected sensory cues originating from the rewards before obtaining them. We also observed two separate groups of non-DA cells activated in expectation of upcoming rewards or during reward consumption. Bilateral injections of muscimol, a GABAA agonist, into the mPFC significantly decreased the non-DA activity that encoded reward expectation. By contrast, the same manipulation of the mPFC elevated DA responses to reward-predicting cues. However, neither DA nor non-DA responses elicited after reward acquisition were affected by mPFC inactivation. These results suggest that the mPFC provides information about expected rewards to the VTA, and its functional loss elevates DA responses to reward-predicting cues by altering expectations about forthcoming rewards.

 Full Article


Sunday, August 11, 2013 - 11:49am

We'd like to welcome Phil Baker, a new post doc from University of Illinois, Chicago!


Sunday, August 11, 2013 - 11:46am

Valerie Tryon has received the Departmental Service Award for graduate students for her contributions to the Behavioral Neuroscience faculty search committee. 

She also organizes an informal journal club.


Sunday, August 11, 2013 - 11:40am

Monday, May 6, 2013 - 2:14pm

Dr. Marsha Penner had been awarded the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for her outstanding work with her undergraduate students, Meilin Richards and Jenna Shrewsbury, by Janice DeCosmo, the  Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

 

Every year, students who are presenting their work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium are invited to nominate their mentor for special  recognition. A committee then selects a few awardees from among those nominees to honor at the symposium. Dr. Penner has been selected as the postdoctoral researcher to be honored this year with an Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. Congratulations!

 

 


Monday, May 6, 2013 - 2:07pm

The Mizumori lab is proud of 3 of our undergraduate students who will be presenting their respective work at the 2013 Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Symposium.  Nile Graddis, Jenna Shrewsbury and Meilin Richards will be presenting their hard work at the poster presentation session.  Good luck and have fun to you all, you have worked extremely hard and the results reflect this. Congratulations to you all.

 

ABSTRACT

 

Rats Bred as High Alcohol Drinkers Increasingly Utilize Response-Based Strategies on a Plus Maze Task when Compared to Low Alcohol Drinkers

 
Does a genetic predisposition towards excessive alcohol consumption influence the acquisition of habits? The study of alcohol dependency and its effects on learning and behavior continues to be a subject of growing importance. With an animal model of alcoholism, we sought to uncover some of these potential behavioral consequences. We focused on the development of both flexible and habitual spatial behaviors in rats selectively bred for High Alcohol Drinking (HAD) and Low Alcohol Drinking (LAD). Using a standard plus-maze task, rats were trained to run to an unchanging reward arm. We hypothesized that HAD rats would rely more on response learning strategies than spatial strategies, and would develop a habit more quickly than LAD rats. Initially, visual cues were placed around the room, and two probes were conducted to assess the progress of habitual behaviors in each animal. Later, cues were removed and one last probe was conducted. Preliminary data analysis revealed some unexpected findings, the most striking of which was seen in the LAD rats’ behavior. We expected both groups of animals to form a habitual response by the end of testing, however the percentage of LAD rats using spatial strategies increased with each successive probe. HAD rats, on the other hand, did appear to increasingly rely on response strategies over time, suggesting that they may be more prone towards developing a habitual behavior under these conditions. Additionally, a large number of HAD rats consistently omitted trials and demonstrated increased latencies when compared to LAD rats, possibly indicating that receiving a reward was not enough of an incentive to run the task. These preliminary findings may suggest that genetic preferences for alcohol consumption could influence the learning strategies employed in solving simple behavioral tasks.


Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 2:13pm

Yong Sang Jo received the Alcor Fellowship for summer quarter 2013.  This is in recognition for his accomplishments in the program and to support his future research.  As background, The Alcor Fellowships are made possible by a bequest for Harry and Claire Garlick Peterson.  Harry spent his career as a psychologist in the field of corrections, mostly in the Puget Sound area.  Claire was a bassoonist for the Seattle and Vancouver symphonies.  Alcor is the name of the second star in the handle of the Big Dipper constellation,  It figures in many myths and had a personal significance to the Petersons. 


Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 1:52pm

Nile Graddis was awarded the 2012-2013 Levinson Emerging Scholar Award in recognition of his outstanding research in Dr. Mizumori's lab.

More info available soon.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 3:18pm

The Mizumori lab is proud of 3 of our undergraduate students who will be presenting their respective work at the 2013 Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Symposium.  Nile Graddis, Jenna Shrewsbury and Meilin Richards will be presenting their hard work at the poster presentation session.  Good luck and have fun to you all, you have worked extremely hard and the results reflect this. Congratulations to you all.

 

 

 

Fostering a Community of Student Scholars

The Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium is a chance for undergraduates to present what they have learned through their research experiences to a larger audience. The Symposium also provides a forum for students, faculty, and the community to discuss cutting edge research topics and to examine the connection between research and education. The Symposium includes poster and presentation sessions by students from all academic disciplines and all three UW campuses, plus invited guests.


All UW undergraduates involved in research are encouraged to apply and those not yet involved in research will discover that attending the Symposium is a great way to learn about the broad range of opportunities available at the UW. In 2012, nearly 1,000 undergraduates participated in the Symposium, with more than 3,500 people attending.