Title: Intra-genomic coevolution and the preservation of genome integrity by Cara Brand
Title: Hypothalamic Circuits for Behavioral Choice under Competing Motivations by Ryan Post
Abstract: Animals constantly experience multiple competing drives that attempt to differentially influence their behavior. How does a coherent behavior emerge when conflicting survival needs demand the organism respond? In my research, I have studied this conflict in mice through two of the most potent motivators an organism experiences: hunger and fear. In this seminar, I will describe my work showing that a small population of neurons in the hypothalamus conveys a graded hunger signal—under moderate fear conditions, activity in only a subset of these neurons is sufficient to promote feeding despite fear. But as fear stimuli become more intense, the percentage of neurons that must be active to promote feeding despite fear must increase. I will conclude by comparing neural “filtering” and “parallel” models for the resolution of competing needs and discuss how my research points toward a novel mechanism in the hypothalamus for motivated behavior.