Human and animal studies show that post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is manifested by a variety of symptoms including exaggerated fear responses following exposure to trauma. PTSD is mainly characterized by impaired ability to extinguish fear responses. Studies in humans and rodents indicate that impairments in extinction is due to abnormalities in the function of the neural circuit of amygdala-prefrontal cortex. The lab for Neurobiology of Emotions is mainly interested in the role of this circuit in the mediation of acquisition and extinction of fear memories. We employ behavioral, electrophysiological, pharmacological and biochemical tools to study the interaction between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex in normal conditions and following exposure to stress.
Furthermore, we recently started to explore developmental differences in the mechanisms of fear and extinction.