Special Seminar: Social Communication of Affective States


Speaker: Toni-Lee Sterley, PhD

Postdoctoral Associate, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary

Registration: available now on Eventbrite.

Abstract: Detecting the emotional or affective states of others is something that most humans do on a regular basis. An inability to detect and appropriately respond to the affective states of others is a diagnostic feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While we know that impairments in such skills can reduce quality of life, therapeutic interventions to improve these abilities are not available. We do not know the precise neural circuitry and mechanisms involved in being able to detect affective states, let alone what differential activity of the circuit is responsible for impairments in this ability in individuals with ASD. During my postdoctoral work, we showed that mice can detect the negative affective state of a familiar conspecific. On investigating the conserved neural basis underlying this ability we discovered a novel role for hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone neurons. Moving forward my independent research program will leverage this behavioural assay for affect detection to determine the broader neural circuitry underlying this phenomenon. We will also investigate the neural basis for impaired detection of affective states in genetic mouse models of ASD with the goal of revealing therapeutic targets.

This is a recruitment seminar:

Dr. Sterley is a candidate for a position as an Assistant or Associate Professor (Research) in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University.

How to participate via Zoom:

1. You can either join a meeting via the invite link or the Meeting ID #.

2. If you click the link it will automatically bring you to the meeting. If you do not have the link and only the meeting ID go to the Zoom application and click “Join a meeting” where it will prompt you to input your name and the Meeting ID #.

3. Use the toolbar at the bottom of your screen to mute/unmute yourself and to enable/disable your video.

Contact Information

Debbie Rashcovsky
Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital
deborah.rashcovsky [at] mcgill.ca

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