CMU Biological Sciences Departmental Seminar
Wednesday, February 20th
Mellon Institute Conference Room (348)
Malavika Murugan, Ph.D.
Princeton Neuroscience Institute
“Investigating social spaces: Role of the prefrontal cortex in mediating social behaviors”
Abstract: Social behaviors are crucial to all mammals. Although the prefrontal cortex has been implicated in social interactions, it is not clear which neurons are relevant, nor how they contribute. We localized mPFC’s control of social behavior to a specific anatomical subpopulation, its projection to the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Combining cellular resolution imaging and optogenetic methods, we found that mPFC-NAc neurons encoded a combined social-spatial code and that this conjunctive code supports the formation of social-spatial associations by perhaps providing information to the NAc about the location of social encounters. Additionally, I will present new data that shows that these neurons may represent social stimuli differently from other prefrontal neural populations.
Department of Neurobiology Presents a Special Seminar:
The evolution of cortical fields associated with movements of the body
Mary Baldwin, Ph.D.
Visiting Scientist, Dept. of Neuroscience
Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri;
Assistant Project Scientist, Center for Neuroscience
University of California, Davis
Monday, March 4, 2019, 3:00 pm
Primates have several unique behaviors among extant mammals. An example includes bringing food to the mouth with hands or tools versus bringing the mouth to food. With these changes in motor behaviors are associated changes in the brain. Cortical motor fields have become more complex and additional specialized cortical areas have emerged, each of which contribute to how primates plan, generate, and monitor body movements. However, based on comparative studies, it is thought that the cortical motor network of early mammals consisted of an “amalgam” where the motor field overlapped with somatosensory cortex. This talk will address how new cortical motor fields may have emerged in primates, and will readdress the concept of the “amalgam” found in early mammals.