School or College:
Research Proposal Title:
Dr. Fenelon’s team will investigate the brain circuits and celular mechanisms by which sensorimotor gating occurs. Sensorimotor gating is a fundamental brain mechanism that, if reduced, is associated with and often predictive of attention impairment, cognitive overload and motor problems. In humans and translational models, the behavioral test to study sensorimotor gating is called prepulse inhibition (PPI). PPI occurs when a weak stimulus is presented prior to an alarming stimulus reduces the startle response to this alarming stimulus. Reduced PPI is a hallmark of schizophrenia but is also seen in other neurological and psychiatric disorders. Therefore, PPI is a behavioral paradigm that can indicate impairment of sensorimotor gating associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders. Results for these experiments will lead to the identification of brain cells and pathways underlying PPI deficits linked to neurological diseases as promising drug targets that could be stimulated in patients that are unresponsive to current pharmaceuticals.