Connections and stress-related activity of different neuron sub populations of the central extended amygdala
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.
Project update from Alessandra 25.10.19
During my first weeks at the IRBLleida, after being introduced to my colleagues in the lab, I have started to participate in the lab activities, and I have organised everything in order to be ready to start with my project. Thanks to Antonio, I have performed the first molecular biology protocols (riboprobe synthesis and in situ hybridization on brain sections) in order to set up different procedures that I will use in the following weeks.
In addition, I have attended doctorate school seminars and lab meetings. I also have read articles about brain anatomy and development; in particular, I have studied how the amygdala is implicated in stress related pathways, which will allow me to investigate this important system in chicks.
To fully integrate myself in Lleida, I am learning Spanish and Catalan. Today I started my project by incubating the first eggs!