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Neurobiology of the persistence of traumatic memories

Neurobiology of the persistence of traumatic memories

Objective

Fearful traumatic experiences can lead to the formation of traumatic memories that are frequently associated with persistent psychopathologies. The main aim of the present proposal is to identify key neural mechanisms whereby behavioral principles which are essential for the psychological integrity of the individual, get impaired under certain emotional and stressful conditions, eventually leading to psychopathology. We hypothesize that some of the key behavioral distortions leading to emotional disturbances (e.g., generalization of conditioned fear and the inefficiency of extinction processes when applied to recent fear memories) share common underlying neurobiological mechanisms which critically involve special properties of amygdala functioning under conditions of high or extreme emotional distress. We also hypothesize that individual differences in amygdala reactivity will be implicated in individuals’ proneness to develop these behavioral distortions. By focusing on the inefficiency of extinction processes when applied to recent fear memories as a working model to understand the mediating mechanisms, we will investigate in rats the involvement of corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and of synaptic proteins (glutamate receptor subunits, cell adhesion molecules) with a role in circuit and memory formation. In addition, we aim to apply a developmental perspective to assess whether early life experiences can be effective, when reactivated in adulthood, to overcome these behavioral distortions. These objectives will be tackled by using a multidisciplinary technical approach within state-of-the-art facilities in the laboratory of Prof. C. Sandi at the Brain Mind Institute in Lausanne. This project will be a major step in my career towards becoming an independent researcher, and the ideal basis for the establishment of collaborations extremely valuable for my future career.
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Coordinator

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE

Address

Batiment Ce 3316 Station 1
1015 Lausanne

Switzerland

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 172 565,20

Administrative Contact

Carmen Sandi (Prof.)

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 252829

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 May 2010

  • End date

    30 April 2011

Funded under:

FP7-PEOPLE

  • Overall budget:

    € 172 565,20

  • EU contribution

    € 172 565,20

Coordinated by:

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE

Switzerland