CSHL Professor Bo Li and two collaborators at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have been awarded a new grant under the BRAIN Initiative of the National Institutes of Health. The award of $5 million, apportioned over five years, supports research to better understand how paired structures called amygdalae, set deep in the brain, are anatomically wired and involved in shaping various learned behaviors, especially those driven by threat or reward. “We think amygdala circuits are modified in different ways in different learning tasks,” says Li. “We aim to overcome technological challenges that have prevented us from obtaining more exact knowledge of how cellular events in specific amygdala circuits define learning processes.” Li and co-PIs Haining Zhong and Tianyi Mao of OHSU will integrate new technologies spanning disciplines to investigate brain-wide connections of amygdala neurons, and, in awake, “behaving” animals, to visualize subcellular signaling events involved in learning. The results will inform efforts to target amygdala dysfunction in disorders including anxiety and PTSD.