Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Yijia Wu L&S Biological Sciences

Heterogeneous Functions of Striatal Acetylcholine in Reward-seeking

My project aims to investigate neural circuits in the mammalian midbrain brain that involve the crucial neurotransmitters dopamine (DA) and acetylcholine (ACh). These systems are renowned for facilitating learning and motivation and are implicated in various psychiatric disorders including addiction. The role of DA in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) in encoding reward value has long been a focus of research. The role of ACh is less well defined, though previous studies note pauses in ACh signaling during DA release. Recently, studies have indicated NAc subregional variability of DA and ACh interplay. How ACh functions across NAc subregions remains unclear. My research seeks to fill this knowledge gap by examining subregional NAc ACh and DA interactions during reward processing. The outcomes of this research could be pivotal in developing treatments for conditions like depression, addiction, and other reward-related disorders by targeting ACh neurons and receptors.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you for your support on my project! I will follow research protocol responsibly and keep academic honesty. I really appreciate your contribution to a possible cure to motivational related disorder.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology and Cognitive Science
Mentor: Stephan Lammel
Sponsor: Various Donors
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