JUL 09, 2020 11:00 AM PDT

Learning to aggress: from complex social behavior to whole brain light sheet microscopy

Sponsored by: Miltenyi Biotec
C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
  • Assistant Professor University of Washington Department of Biological Structure
      Sam Golden received his BS in Neuroscience from Bates College (Lewiston, ME) in 2006, PhD in Neuroscience from the Icahn School of Medicine (New York City, NY) in 2015 under Dr. Scott J. Russo, and completed in Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Baltimore, MD) in 2018 under Dr. Yavin Shaham. Sam joined the University of Washington Department of Biological Structure in 2019, with a co-appointment as a participating faculty in the The UW Center of Excellence in Neurobiology of Addiction, Pain, and Emotion (NAPE).

      Dr. Golden's scientific interests encompass understanding the psychological and neural mechanisms guiding reward processing. He is particularly interested in understanding how neuropsychiatric disorders- such as maladaptive aggression, depression and substance abuse - subvert basic reward circuitry to manifest pathological behavior. Currently, he aims to better define the intersection of aggression and motivation, and identify the cellular and circuit mechanisms that control the transition from adaptive aggression to maladaptive aggression seeking behavior. To investigate these mechanisms, the Golden's lab has pioneered new applications of approaches employing chemogenetics, optogenetics, calcium imaging, whole-mount light-sheet fluorescent microscopy and machine-learning.


    DATE: July 9, 2020

    TIME: 11:00 am PT


    Maladaptive aggression is an immutable force that contributes to the suffering and death of millions of people around the world annually, as well as presents significant treatment challenges to physicians and care-takers. While aggression can be highly rewarding and pursued despite adverse consequences, as well as sought after lengthy abstinence, maladaptive aggression is not generally viewed as a component of neuropsychiatric disease states. Consequently, little progress has been made in the treatment of pathological aggression. What drives an individual to voluntarily seek out an aggressive interaction? How does aggression shift from an evolutionally conserved, and highly adaptive process, to a maladaptive and pathological state? 

    As such, aggression is an ethologically complex behavior with equally complex underlying mechanisms. Here, Dr. Golden will present data on one form, appetitive (rewarding) aggression, and the behavioral, cellular and system-level mechanisms guiding this behavior. He will briefly present how appetitive aggression is behaviorally modeled in mice, and extend the concept of aggression motivation to compulsive aggression seeking and relapse.  He will then highlight recent advances in computer vision and machine learning for automated predictive classification of aggressive behavior, the role of specific cell-types in controlling aggression reward, and close with preliminary data on the whole brain functional connectome of aggression reward using light sheet fluorescent microscopy (LSFM). Together, these approaches bridge the analysis of complex social behavior with whole brain, single-cell resolution, connectomics.


    Learning objectives:

    • Advances in behavioral modeling and light sheet microscopy enable new research in aggression behavior.
    • Whole-brain imaging at cellular resolution is beginning to reveal a functional connectome of complex behavior


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