Anxiety disorders are widespread in the human population. At the same time, the behavioral paradigm of fear learning offers researchers a platform to investigate the neuronal circuit basis of emotionally motivated learning behaviors, exploiting state-of-the-art optic- and genetic approaches in mice. Understanding the fundamental molecular, cellular- and circuit mechanisms of fear learning will form the basis for an improved treatment of anxiety in the future. The Symposium brings together researchers investigating fundamental mechanisms of fear learning and of fear reversal, as well as researchers working on translational aspects of fear learning.
In 1970, Woolsey and van der Loos discovered that the tactile whiskers on the rodent snout were individually represented in the primary somatosensory cortex by somatotopically-arranged anatomical units, which they termed ‘barrels’. These precise barrel maps have fascinated neuroscientists ever since their discovery and have allowed detailed structure-function analyses. This symposium celebrates 50 years of barrel cortex research focusing on the latest advances in diverse topics including orofacial sensation and motor control, whisker sensory coding, barrel cortex circuits, long range circuits, development and plasticity.