Emrah Duezel, DZNE, Magdeburg, Germany
Andreas Heintz, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
Peter Redgrave, University of Sheffiled, UK
Terry Robinson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
Wolfram Schultz, University of Cambridge, UK
Susan Sesack, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Mark Wightman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
The basal ganglia had long been considered a motor control center. However, in recent years there has been a greater recognition of its role in other processes. In particular, subregions of the striatum and the cortical-striatal-thalamic-midbrain dopaminergic circuit have been found to have differential involvements in learning, reward, and habit formation.
The ventral striatum and its associated dopaminergic inputs have long been recognized for their central role in reward processing and goal-directed behavior. Such rewarding events are essential for learning, and can be reflected by modulation of plasticity (i.e., LTP and LTD) of glutamatergic inputs. In contrast, more recent studies have shown that repeated presentation of rewarding events such as drugs of abuse will lead to a transition from reward-directed behaviors (i.e., “liking”) to habit formation (i.e., “wanting”). Habit formation involves activation of more dorsal striatal circuitry. Therefore, the striatum is far from only a motor circuit, but instead is positioned to integrate a diverse array of motor, limbic, and cognitive processes to regulate behavior. Accordingly, dysfunctions within the basal ganglia have been implicated in a diverse array of psychiatric disorders, including drug abuse, impulse control disorders, schizophrenia and depression.
In this course, experts from around the world will provide an outstanding scientific resource and lead interactive discussions across a broad array of fields, spanning basic neuroscience and anatomy to clinical disorders and their treatment. The course will cover basic anatomy and neuropharmacology of circuits involved in learning, reward, and habit formation, and the transmitters that impact these circuits. Experts in reward and learning will describe the dopamine neuron system and its responses during learning, and how this impacts striatal synaptic plasticity. Habit formation will be examined from the perspective of recording from single units through behavioral pharmacology, with imaging providing a unifying overview of circuit function in normal and disease states in humans. The participants will gain an in-depth understanding of the neurobiology of reward, learning, and habit formation, how the organism transitions from one state to the other with experience, and be exposed to cutting-edge research from the cellular through behavioral and human pathological perspective.