Bienvenidos a CienciaPR, una red de recursos para todos los interesados en las ciencias y en Puerto Rico.
I am a postdoctoral researcher in Gregory Quirk's lab in the Dept of Psychiatry at UPR Centro Medico. I received my BS in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University, where I worked with Drs. James Herndon and Agnes Lacreuse at Yerkes National Primate Research Center studying sex differences in cognitive aging in rhesus monkeys. I then went to Virginia Tech to do a 2-year post-bac program where I studied language development in infants with Dr. Robin Panneton in the Dept of Psychology. I completed my PhD on neuronal activity and anatomical connections of face and vocalization processing regions in ventral prefrontal cortex with Dr. Lizabeth Romanski in the Dept of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Rochester. Currently, I am studying the neural circuits of active avoidance in rats using single unit recordings and optogenetics. I am interested in learning more about the scientific research going on in Puerto Rico and promoting science on this beautiful island.
The overall goal of my project is to delineate the neural circuits necessary for active avoidance. We train rats in a platforrm-mediated avoidance task in which they learn to avoid a tone-signaled footshock by stepping onto a nearby platform. We have previously found that pharmacological inactivation of the prelimbic prefrontal cortex (PL) impairs avoidance. Using single unit recordings, we are characterizing the neural correlates of avoidance in PL. Using optogenetics, we can manipulate the activity in PL during avoidance to determine if this PL acitivty is necessary for avoidance behavior. We can also use optogenetics to selectively manipulate inputs to PL or targets of PL to characterize the circuit of active avoidance.
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