Monday, December 22, 2014

Molecular Genetic Analysis of Behavioral Traits

We examine the contributions of individual genes to the genetic determination of complex behavioral traits. Because brain serotonin pathways regulate many mammalian physiological and behavioral phenomena, our primary focus is on gene products that contribute to this signaling system. To shed light on the mechanisms through which serotonin regulates neurobehavioral processes such as anxiety/fear responses, ingestive behavior and reward, we use molecular genetic procedures to generate lines of mice with null mutations (constitutive, region-specific and inducible) of serotonin receptor genes. Detailed behavioral analyses of the impact of these mutations are pursued, revealing abnormalities that provide a focus for multidisciplinary studies of the neural mechanisms underlying the regulation of complex behaviors.

In view of the widespread use of serotonergic drugs such as Prozac for the treatment of conditions such as anxiety and depression, we have an interest in examining the serotonergic regulation of such processes. Mice bearing a null mutation of the 5-HT1A receptor represent a useful model for this work. These "hyperserotonergic" animals lack the predominant inhibitory autoreceptor of serotonergic neurons, resulting in elevated extracellular serotonin levels. Animals lacking 5-HT1A receptors display enhanced anxiety-like responses in a variety of behavioral assays and a robust antidepressant-like responses in an animal model of depression. We are examining neural mechanisms through which serotonin system hyperactivity produces these abnormalities of behavior.

We are also interested in the serotonergic regulation of ingestive behavior. We have observed an eating disorder in animals bearing null mutations of the serotonin 5-HT2C receptor subtype. These animals overeat and develop a late onset ("middle-age" obesity) syndrome associated with physiological changes characteristic of human obesities. To examine the neural basis of this disorder, we are developing sophisticated ethologically-based behavioral assays to dissect the neuropsychological processes that govern ingestive behavior in mice. Such studies are performed in conjunction with neuroanatomical, genetic and pharmacological approaches to examine neural mechanisms through which 5-HT2C receptors regulate feeding.

In addition to their role in the regulation of food ingestion, increasing attention is being paid to the influences of brain serotonin systems on the ingestion of abused drugs. The rewarding properties of abused drugs and natural reinforcers appear to share common neural pathways that are regulated by serotonin. In accord with this, we have uncovered abnormal responses of 5-HT2C and 5-HT6 receptor mutant mice to drugs such as psychostimulant and alcohol. These responses provide a focus for our efforts to examine neural mechanisms through which serotonin systems influence brain reward pathways.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"SAD" Final Lightbox Project


The "SAD" (Sex, Alcohol, Drugs) piece demonstrates the intense imagery of destructive behavior led by these three life altering subjects. Sex, Alcohol and drugs can be used for many reasons for some are still clueless as to what that is, however in some fashion this trio will in someway have intent to escape the everyday rat race, Sex, Alcohol and drugs help you escape from reality for a momentary point in time that leads you to the ultimate consequences. When you return from your high, buzz, or bliss you're going to hit the ground pretty hard. This can lead to the eye opening affects that this trio can impact your body and life. However, these three can be the ever-lasting and be a devastating loop that will be a life long struggle to escape. People's desire to improve their interaction with peers and adults often leads them to experiment with sex, alcohol, and drugs (SAD). For many the reality about the SAD scene is a personal threat and they tend to impose these upon people without regret. This piece is to expanded in an effort to help people communicate more effectively on these tension producing subjects. 

Using a light-box is inspired by the media to depict subjects with intesnsity. The huge interest generated from this work has encouraged me to continue exploring this medium and create further pieces. A truly captivating and striking piece with the use of negative and positive light with hopes to stand out from the rest of pieces. The use of a light-box stems from Jeff Glass; His signature works are large transparencies mounted on light boxes; he conceived this format when he saw back-lit advertisements at bus stops during a trip between Spain and London. Since the mid-1990s, Wall has also made large scale black and white photographs. The use of a light-box with intention to display something meaningful and with depth beautifully amplifies the powerful wash of light and shadow which itself belies the light-box.

Classroom Lightbox

Using a light-box is inspired by the media advertising to depict the separation of beauty and the beauty myth of women in today's generation. The huge interest generated from this work has encouraged me to continue exploring this medium and create further pieces. A truly captivating and striking piece with the use of negative and positive light with hopes to stand out from the rest of pieces. The photographic image has always interested me in terms of how the perspectives of an image changes how one can view the same object in different ways. The definition of an image never stays the same. Negative space is as important in my design as the visual elements. One of the reasons why I feel in love with photography is the way light and shade creates the forms, and also because it all happens very quickly. The play of depth of field, in and out of focus, creates other issues that are challenging. Each work is a combination of the relationship of at least two images with textures and color. A few of the images are left in black, and color is added as an emotional effect. Each image is interesting in itself The smoke along with the image but the relationship of the images create the real statement. "The otherness" I call the feeling when one fantasizes and one cannot touch or feel but are left with an often-indescribable mood. This indefinable, ephemeral mood is what I seek to express. The subject matter often changes but this feeling and a sense of movement is always prevalent in my work. The subject matter of my work usually deals with the human physical and psychological issues of media, society, growth and change.

The use of a light-box stems from Jeff Glass; His signature works are large transparencies mounted on light boxes; he conceived this format when he saw back-lit advertisements at bus stops during a trip between Spain and London. Since the mid-1990s, Wall has also made large scale black and white photographs. The use of a light-box with intention to display something meaningful and with depth beautifully amplifies the powerful wash of light and shadow which itself belies the light-box.