BMI Distinguished Seminar // Mario Penzo: Neural mechanisms governing the learning and execution of avoidance behavior


Event details

Date 19.06.2024
Hour 12:1513:15
Speaker Mario Penzo, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, USA
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English

The nervous system orchestrates adaptive behaviors by intricately coordinating responses to internal cues and environmental stimuli. This involves integrating sensory input, managing competing motivational states, and drawing on past experiences to anticipate future outcomes. While traditional models attribute this complexity to interactions between the mesocorticolimbic system and hypothalamic centers, the specific nodes of integration have remained elusive. Recent research, including our own, sheds light on the midline thalamus's overlooked role in this process. We propose that the midline thalamus integrates internal states with memory and emotional signals to guide adaptive behaviors. Our investigations into midline thalamic neuronal circuits have provided crucial insights into the neural mechanisms behind flexibility and adaptability. Understanding these processes is essential for deciphering human behavior and conditions marked by impaired motivation and emotional processing. Our research aims to contribute to this understanding, paving the way for targeted interventions and therapies to address such impairments.

Recent papers:

Gao, C., Leng, Y., Ma, J., Rooke, V., Rodriguez-Gonzalez, S., Ramakrishnan, C., Deisseroth, K., and Penzo, M.A. (2020). Two genetically, anatomically and functionally distinct cell types segregate across anteroposterior axis of paraventricular thalamus. Nat. Neuroscience 23, 217-228.

Ma, J., du Hoffmann, J., Kindel, M., Beas, B.S., Chudasama, Y., and Penzo, M.A. (2021). Divergent projections of the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus mediate the selection of passive and active defensive behaviors. Nat. Neuroscience 24, 1429-1440.

Gao, C., Gohel, C.A., Leng, Y., Ma, J., Goldman, D., Levine, A.J., and Penzo, M.A. (2023). Molecular and spatial profiling of the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus. eLife 12.


Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Free


  • BMI Host: R. Schneggenburger