MAR 18, 2015 07:30 AM PDT

Special Lecturer - Circuits of Reward/Motivation and Decisions: Linking Connectivity to Function and Disease

Presented At Neuroscience
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  • Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
      Dr. Habers research focuses on the neural network underlying learning and decision-making that leads to action plan development. The cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic system is central to this network and comprises a diverse group of structures involved in reward and motivation, cognition and motor control. Pathology of this network is implicated in several mental health disorders including drug addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. Her lab is addressing the hypothesis that cortico-basal ganglia connections are critical for integrating information across functional domains. The lab is also investigating which pathways are stimulated during deep brain stimulation, a therapy now being actively investigated for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder and understanding postnatal changes in the cortico-basal ganglia system associated with specific developmental milestones and the high level of plasticity during early learning.
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      <br />Dr. Haber received her Ph.D. in neuro-and bio-behavioral sciences from Stanford University.
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    The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), ventrolateral and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vlPFC, vmPFC) and their connections with the basal ganglia play a central role in reward and decision-making. These areas, along with their white matter pathways, are closely associated with several psychiatric disorders, including depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and addiction. While their connections define the reward-related cortical and basal ganglia regions, their terminals also interface in specific locations with those from cognitive control cortical areas. These regions, specifically located in the dACC, vlPFC, and striatum, are in pivotal positions for providing a ‘platform’ for bottom-up and/or top down control of goal directed behaviors. The first part of this talk will address the connectivity of the reward circuit and its interface with cognitive control cortical regions. Axons from reward-related and cognitive control cortical areas travel through several white matter bundles, that shows changes in volume and diffusivity in several psychiatric disorders. Importantly, these WM bundles are targets for invasive surgeries for treatment of depression and OCD, including lesions and deep brain stimulation (DBS). For example, anterior capsulotomy and DBS, two surgical treatments for OCD and depression, target the internal capsule. Lesions of the dorsal cingulum bundle (cingulotomy), is also a target for depression and OCD, and the subgenual cingulum bundle is a DBS target for depression. The second part of this talk will demonstrate the PFC fiber positions through these bundles demonstrating the likely connections captured at the three surgical targets.

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