Project 1

Connections and stress-related activity of different neuron sub populations of the central extended amygdala

ESR 1: Alessandra Pross          Supervisors: Loreta Medina & Ester Desfilis          Location: Institut de Recerca Biomedica de Lleida 

Description: Stress is essential for survival, but too much stress is harmful for both humans and animals. Chronic stress increases disease susceptibility in farm animals, and has a negative impact on their growth and reproduction, as well as on the quality of food products such as chicken eggs and meat. In mammals, stress responses are regulated by forebrain networks, which involve the amygdala as a central structure. Our group recently identified different subdivisions and neuron populations of the amygdala in chickens. However, the implication of this avian structure in stress is unknown. As part of a European Network that is investigating the factors that can make hens more or less resilient to stress, this project will investigate how the amygdala regulates the stress response in chickens. This project will include studies of the connectivity and activation of distinct amygdala neurons following different stressful situations. This work will also link to other work from our laboratory on the development, molecular profile and role of different neurons of the amygdala in the control of emotional responses, social cognition and behaviour.