SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series, Thomas Hnasko, Reward seeking and cell death


Monday May 14

Thomas Hnasko

Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, USA

Dr. Thomas Hnasko received his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology & Toxicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999; his PhD in Neurobiology & Behavior was awarded from the University of Washington-Seattle in 2006 for his thesis under Prof Richard Palmiter on the role of dopamine in behavioral responses to drugs of abuse. Dr Hnasko completed his postdoctoral training in in the lab of Prof Robert Edwards at the University of California-San Francisco where he used neurophysiological approaches to study vesicular transporters and was appointed to his current position as Assistant Professor of Neurosciences at the University of California-San Diego in 2012. His lab uses genetic approaches to study the mechanisms and consequences of neurotransmitter co-release in mice, and focuses on mesolimbic and basal ganglia neural circuits that drive motivated behaviors and behavioral control.

Roles for dopamine and glutamate co-release in reward seeking and cell death

It is now well established that populations of neurons throughout the brain release more than one classical recycling neurotransmitter. This allows presynaptic neurons additional degrees of freedom to signal across multiple domains in space and time. However, little is known of the mechanisms that regulate co-transmission or how co-transmission influences circuit function, animal behavior, or disease. This seminar will describe recent work and new theories on the consequences of co-transmission from midbrain cell groups classically associated with dopamine neurons. Including how glutamate co-release from dopamine neurons has important consequences on selective dopamine neuron vulnerability that could impact Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis. And how GABA and glutamate co-transmission from neurons in the ventral tegmental area can signal reward and drive behavioral reinforcement through mechanisms distinct from dopamine.

Read more about Thomas Hnasko’s research

Host: Åsa Mackenzie (asa.mackenzie@ebc.uu.se)