Shannon Gourley, Emory University

Arbitration between actions and habits: Cortical regulators and the influence of cocaine
Friday, September 29, 2017 - 3:30pm

Shannon Gourley, PhD
Assistant Professor
Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry
Emory University

Abstract: Selecting actions based on their consequences is essential to day-to-day function and yet, is impaired in neuropsychiatric diseases like addiction. Goal-directed action selection likely requires the coordinated output of multiple prefrontal cortical structures, but mechanistic factors are still being identified. I will focus on the neurotrophin BDNF in the orbital prefrontal cortex and PI3-kinase in the medial prefrontal cortex, providing evidence that they are key molecular mechanisms by which the brain coordinates goal-directed action. These findings serve as a platform from which to improve goal-directed action selection following developmental cocaine.