CANCELED: From Fear to PTSD: Translational Advances in Amygdala and Threat Processing

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Date: April 2, 2020
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Integrative Biosciences Center 1D | Map
6135 Woodward Ave.
Detroit , MI 48202
Category: Seminar

*In order to plan for an accurate head count for parking and food, please RSVP by Thursday, 3/26/2020*

The university community is invited to join NeuroCAST & TNI for a special seminar with guest speaker, Kerry Ressler, MD/Ph.D., professor of Psychiatry, at Harvard Medical School.

The seminar will be held on Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 from 12 to 1 p.m. in the IBio Seminar Room-Room 1D, and lunch will be served afterwards. Dr. Ressler will present, "From Fear to PTSD: Translational Advances in Amygdala and Threat Processing".

Dr. Ressler received his B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA; he completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA; he completed his medical degree at Harvard University School of Medicine in Boston, MA; and he completed his medical residency at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He has published over 350 manuscripts ranging from basic molecular mechanisms of fear processing to understanding how emotion is encoded in a region of the brain called the amygdala, in both animal models and human patients.

Dr. Ressler’s Neurobiology of Fear Laboratory investigates the molecular, genetic, epigenetic, and neural circuit mechanisms underlying fear processes through an integration of animal models and human genetic research. The hope is that gaining a better understanding of how fear works in the brain will contribute to the development of new treatments, and possibly even prevention, of fear-based psychiatric illnesses. To truly understand and treat complex neuropsychiatric disorders, we need to know what behaviors are affected, which brain regions are involved, which genes, molecules, and cell types in these regions might be involved, and how the environment affects the propensity to develop these disorders. Dr. Ressler’s research encompasses these questions, with focus on fear and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Stress responses and threat processing are central to understanding debilitating disorders such as Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD.  Progress has been made in understanding the neural circuits underlying the ‘engram’ of threat-or fear-memory formation that complements a decades-old appreciation of the neurobiology of fear and stress, involving hub structures such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus. I will discuss mechanisms of therapeutic approaches to PTSD and review human neuroimaging and genetic approaches as well as optogenetic, chemogenetic, and cell-type specific transcriptomic approaches in rodent models to understanding circuits that mediate threat processing. The application of next-generation cell-type specific or neural circuit-specific approaches provide a mechanistic understanding of circuits and behaviors for the rational design of targeted, circuit specific, translationally-informed interventions for the treatment and prevention of these disorders.


Manessa Riser




Academic staff, Alumni, Current students, Faculty