Marco Bocchio wins the Gotch Memorial Prize 2013 for the best DPhil Transfer Status report of an Oxford graduate student in the field of Physiology. The award is £1,000.
The title of his transfer report is "Serotonergic neuromodulation of the mouse amygdala".
Recent studies in animals and humans have proven that serotonergic neurotransmission in the Basolateral Amygdala (BLA) is a critical component for the regulation of emotional behaviour and psychiatric disorders. However, the effects of serotonergic transmission on BLA neuronal network are currently poorly understood.
The report investigates the effect of serotonin (5-Hydroxytriptamine, 5-HT) on:
1) GABAergic interneurons (INs) innervating Principal Neurons (PNs) of the Basal Amygdala in mice overexpressing the serotonin transporter (5-HTT OE), an animal model displaying reduced anxiety; and 2) neurons of the Lateral Amygdala (LA) expressing neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), a cell type displaying Low-threshold Spiking (LTS) features.
The experiments described hereby show that overexpression of 5-HTT leads to a deficit in GABAergic INs activation in the Basal Amygdala (BA), namely reduced inhibition onto PN.
Additionally, 5-HT elicits a switch from tonic firing to burst firing of nNOS+ neurons of the LA, potentially driven by hyperpolarization. This contrasts with the known depolarizing action of 5-HT on other GABAergic populations investigated so far. The description of the anatomical aspects and electrophysiological responses of nNOS+ neurons is also addressed. Results suggest that this cell population is likely to be formed by long-range GABAergic projection neurons, the presence of which has never been reported in the BLA.
Warm congratulations to MRC Unit student Gido van de Ven for winning the Gotch Memorial Prize 2014, which is given for the best Oxford D.Phil. Transfer Status report of a graduate student in the field of Physiology. The prize comes with an award of £1,000.
Last week Tommas Ellender attended the the 40th European Histamine Research Society meeting held in Sochi, Russia, and won the first prize in the Young Investigator Awards. Tommas presented a talk with the title: 'Differential control of striatal inhibition by histamine'. The prize was awarded by the society president Prof. Anita Sydbom.
Our warmest congratulations to Anna-Kristin Kaufmann who has been awarded a prestigious scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation.
Anna’s D.Phil. thesis research in the Unit is focused on the function and dysfunction of midbrain dopamine neurons, and is carried out under the supervision of Dr Paul Dodson in the groups of Professor Paul Bolam and Professor Peter Magill.
Congratulations to Abhilasha Joshi who has been awarded the Senior Hulme Scholarship by Brasenose College. These scholarships are awarded each year to the best doctoral students as recognition of academic distinction. As a part of the award, Abhilasha will receive a research allowance and Senior Hulme scholars are also entitled to certain High Table dining rights.
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Peter Magill, MRC Unit Programme Leader, has received a prestigious New Investigator Award from The Wellcome Trust. These Awards are intended to support independent, early-career researchers of exceptional promise, who can already show that they have the ability to innovate and drive advances in their field of study. Dr.