Psychology Department Colloquium - Jared Trask

Mar 22nd, 2022

Psych. Dept.

For this week's Colloquium, on March 25th, we will be joined by Jared Trask. Please see the talk title and summary below:

Title: Investigating Backwards Conditioning for Covert Memory Capture in Female C57BL/6 Mice: Preliminary Findings

Summary: Prolonged exposure therapy is one of the primary treatment methods for PTSD and other fear-related disorders, however, existing therapies require the patient to re-submit themselves to traumatic memories/cues. Thus, the question becomes can we cause a fear memory to become unstable through indirect re-exposure so we may selectively target and eliminate it? In forward fear conditioning (Classical Pavlovian Conditioning), animals associate the cue (Conditioned Stimulus; CS) with the shock (Unconditioned Stimulus; US), rather than the context because the cue is a better predictor. On the other hand, in backward conditioning, the cue is presented after the shock delivery and subsequent presentation of the cue indirectly reactivates the context's memory and therefore, the context–shock association. My current research further investigates "covert" memory erasure, using backward conditioning and hypothesizes that a backward CS reactivates a contextual fear engram in the hippocampus in the absence of re-exposure to the conditioning context allowing for manipulation of an indirectly retrieved contextual fear memory. This talk will discuss my experimental findings to date along with a brief overview of the final experiment(s) to investigate whether a single injection of rapamycin is sufficient to extinguish an indirectly retrieved contextual fear memory (induced via backward conditioning) and block freezing behaviour when the subject is re-exposed to the initial conditioning context.

Reminder: Colloquium takes place at 3 pm in A1046