Thalamo-striatal projections encoding motivated behavior

Neuroscience Futures Seminar Series

October 16, 2023
4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
3232 SW Research Drive
Portland, Oregon 97239
Room: M1441

We hope you will join us in-person to network with our speaker and your colleagues. If you are unable to be on campus we will provide an online option. Register to receive the live-stream link.

Contact Information

Sofia Beas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Neurobiology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

How motivational states drive actions to achieve goals is a fundamental question in neuroscience. However, this remains unclear despite extensive research on the role of the mesocorticolimbic systems orchestrating goal pursuits. We previously identified the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus (PVT), especially its projections to the nucleus accumbens (NAc), as essential for instrumental behaviors. However, the precise role of this thalamo-striatal pathway in goal-oriented behaviors has been debated. Here, we characterize two distinct neuronal subpopulations in the PVT, termed Type1PVT and Type2PVT, which differ in their genetic identity, functionality, and connections. We reveal that these subpopulations form parallel thalamo-striatal pathways that encode different components of motivated behavior.

Dr. Sofia Beas is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. The overall mission of her laboratory centers on increasing our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying motivated behavior and identifying how these processes can be dysregulated in neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Beas first attained a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Florida. She then pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in the Unit on Neurobiology of Affective Behaviors at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).