Affiliations: Biology, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Behavioral Biology, Neuroscience
Award: Woodrow Wilson
Altered Left-Right Asymmetry in the Brain Influences Anxiety in Zebrafish
The zebrafish dorsal habenulae (dHb) display pronounced L-R differences in size, gene expression and connectivity with its downstream target, the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN). Previous studies have implicated the dHb in fear/anxiety responses, yet the role of left/right asymmetry is unclear. Using genetic and cellular manipulations, we generated zebrafish with reversed (R-L), right isomerized (R-R), and left isomerized (L-L) habenulae and determined that altering asymmetry increases anxiety in behavioral assays, with the left habenula having a specialized role.
Mentor: Dr. Marnie Halpern, Biology & Carnegie Institution