Luis Pennanen, Ph.D., University of California San Francisco
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2008): $100,000
Mentor: Lawrence Tecott, M.D., Ph.D., University of California San Francisco
Dissecting Serotonergic Influences on Impulsivity and Aggression
Abstract: Loss of behavioral inhibition leading to impulsive and aggressive actions is a key factor in at least some suicidal behavior. Research has shown that impulsivity and aggression are modulated by the serotonin system, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. This study aims to use a mouse model to examine the contribution of one specific neurotransmitter receptor, the serotonin 2C receptor, in regulating impulsive and aggressive behaviors. The mice to be studied will be genetically altered to lack functional serotonin 2C receptors, which the investigators hypothesize will lead to impulsive and/or aggressive behaviors. In addition to assessing the mice for these behaviors, the study will examine the underlying neural mechanisms and identify the specific brain regions involved in impulsivity and aggression. It is expected that study results will lead to new information about the complex serotonergic modulation of both normal and pathological brain function, and provide insights into how impulsivity and aggression may be treated.
Click here to read about the findings from Dr. Pennanen's Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.