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Brainnetome Lecture Series - Dissecting the Neural Circuit of Reward Processing

  TitleDissecting the Neural Circuit of Reward Processing
Speaker: Minmin Luo,Director,National Institute of Biological Sciences (NIBS), Beijing

Chair: Prof. Tianzi Jiang, Brainnetome Center, CASIA  

Time: 2021.03.18, 14:00 - 15:00 

Venue: The 1rd meeting room, 3rd floor, Intelligence Building


The brain reward system  a group of interconnected brain structures  participates in various aspects of reward processing and its malfunctions are associated with numerous psychiatric disorders. Studies have uncovered much information about the roles of dopamine neurons in the midbrain ventral tegmental area in reward-related behaviors, but the exact functions and circuit mechanisms of many other neural pathways in the brain reward system remain to be illuminated. Here, I will report our recent work about the mouse dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). I will first present our findings suggesting that DRN serotonin neurons encode “beneficialness” signals and may be important for reward belief, whereas DRN dopamine neurons are crucial for the expression of incentive memory. I will then show that the amgydala-projecting neurons in the ACC encode reward devaluation by the blunting of reward inhibition, which could be unblunted to alleviate depression-like behavior. These results thus highlight the need of dissecting the roles of reward circuits in the cell type-and projection-specific manner. 


Minmin Luo is a professor at School of life Sciences, Tsinghua University, also a senior investigator of National Institute of Biological Sciences and the co-director of Chinese Institute for Brain Research. He received the B.S degree in Psychology from Peking University in 1995, M.S. in Computer Science in 1997 and Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2000 from University of Pennsylvania, and worked as a postdoc at Duke University from 2000 to 2004. He is interested in using integrative approaches to elucidate how neural circuit processes reward and punishment signals, aiming at revealing the role of the associated neural circuit at the molecular, cellular, physiological, and circuit levels. The research of him has led to publications in many highly cited journals, such as Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, Nature Methods.