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MBPhD Programme

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WEE, Ryan W. S.

Entered:

September 2016

Current Position:

(2018/19) PhD Research Year 2

PhD title:

The control of feeding behaviour in ventral hippocampal subcircuits

Principal Supervisor:

Dr Andrew MacAskill, Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology, Division of Biosciences, Faculty of Life Sciences

Funding Source:

UCL ORS & GRS

Description of Project/Abstract:

To survive, organisms must orchestrate evolutionarily well-conserved motivated behaviours to pursue and consume rewards. Feeding is an example of a complex motivated behaviour, and appropriate feeding behaviour depends on the coordinated activity of distributed neural circuits. A crucial but poorly understood brain area regulating motivated behaviours is the ventral subiculum (vS), which comprises projection neurons with parallel outputs to different reward- and feeding-related brain regions. vS also senses appetite-controlling hormones such as leptin and ghrelin. These features suggest that vS is important in regulating feeding behaviour. However, little is known about how the different long-range vS projections modulate feeding behaviour, and how the neural activities of the different projection populations are controlled both anatomically and functionally.

In this project, we propose to study how vS subcircuits control feeding behaviour. We will focus on vS projections to lateral hypothalamus (vSLH) and nucleus accumbens (vSNAc), two separate projections that we hypothesise to encode specific aspects of hedonic feeding. To study these pathways, I will use optical, behavioural, molecular and electrophysiological tools to investigate the biophysical properties, connectivity, and function of vSLH and vSNAc. Overall, our project will establish the control of feeding in vS subcircuits.

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