Steve Maren, a professor from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and his Emotion and Memory Systems Laboratory have made a breakthrough discovery on the process of fear relapse. Their findings will be published in the February issue of Nature Neuroscience.
by Heather Rodriguez ’04
Steve Maren, the Claude H. Everett Jr. ’47 Chair of Liberal Arts professor from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and his Emotion and Memory Systems Laboratory (EMSL) have made a breakthrough discovery on the process of fear relapse. A paper on their findings, called “Hippocampus-driven feed-forward inhibition of the prefrontal cortex mediates relapse of extinguished fear,” will be published in the February issue of Nature Neuroscience, a scholarly scientific journal that focuses on original research papers on brain science.
In their research, Maren and his team studied the relationship between three parts of the brain: the hippocampus, which is involved in memory; the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in executive control and regulation; and the amygdala, which is involved in emotion. While the neurocircuit between the three have long been known to process fear, this study has been able to pinpoint the biomarker between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex that is involved in a relapse of fear.
Travis Goode, a graduate student and member of the research team, said, “This has wide-spreading implications for treating fear disorders in the future, as we now know what part of the brain to target.”
Other members of the research team from A&M include Jingji Jin, Thomas F. Giustino, Qian Wang, Gillian M. Acca, and Paul J. Fitzgerald. EMSL also collaborated with the Sah laboratory in Australia, led by Pankaj Sah.
Maren and the EMSL are the first Texas A&M University faculty member and lab to be published in the prestigious journal.