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.
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