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Seminar – Åsa Mackenzie

10 December 2021 / 11:30 - 12:30

On Zoom: https://u-bordeaux-fr.zoom.us/j/81025953614?pwd=cE9MQWFEeHVaRGNtMEd1L2pmb2szUT09

Meeting ID : 810 2595 3614
Password: 33000

Åsa Mackenzie
Professor at Department of Organismal Biology, Comparative Physiology
Uppsala University


Åsa Mackenzie is on sabbatical in Jérôme Baufreton and François Georges’ team


Revealing brain heterogeneity. Focus on the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the subthalamic nucleus (STN).


My research interest is to improve current understanding of emotional and motor brain functions, including how rewarding and aversive situations affect motivated behavior. More specifically, in my lab (Uppsala University, Sweden), we focus our attention to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the subthalamic nucleus (STN), both of which continue to gain attention as more heterogeneous than previously believed. Further, both these areas are clinically important in Parkinson´s disease and other neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. In my lab, we have an interest in teasing out the anatomical and spatial organization within these structures, and to connect this to functional roles. We work with transgenic mice to identify molecular markers that have the potential to represent subtypes, or subpopulations, of STN and VTA neurons. By applying functional mouse genetics (conditional knockout and optogenetics), we then explore how distinct VTA and STN neurons contribute to behavioral regulation. Our work has contributed to the understanding of dopamine-glutamate co-release in reward behavior and how subtypes in the VTA can be teased out based on gene expression patterns. In recent work, we identified molecular markers for domains of neurons within the STN which now allows us to progress into functional analysis in mice. By teasing out how specific neuronal subtypes impact on behavior, we hope that our studies will help the advancement towards more specific treatments of neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions in which the VTA and/or the STN are involved.

Key Publications:

Experimental investigation into the role of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in motor control using optogenetics in mice.
Guillaumin A, Serra GP, Georges F, Wallén-Mackenzie, Å.
Brain Research. 2021. March 15; 1755:147226

Spatio-molecular domains identified in the mouse subthalamic nucleus and neighboring glutamatergic and GABAergic brain structures.
Wallén-Mackenzie Å, Dumas S, Papathanou M, Martis Thiele M, Vlcek B, König N, Björklund, ÅK (ÅWM both corresponding and first author).
Commun Biol, Springer Nature. 2020. 3(338).

The NeuroD6 subtype of VTA neurons contributes to psychostimulant-induced sensitization and behavioral reinforcement
Bimpisidis Z, König N, Stagkourakis S, Zell V, Vlcek B, Dumas S, Giros B, Broberger C, Hnasko TS, Wallén-Mackenzie Å
eNEURO. 2019. May, 6(3).

Midbrain gene screening identifies a new mesoaccumbal glutamatergic pathway and a marker for dopamine cells neuroprotected in Parkinson’s disease.
Viereckel T, Dumas S, Smith-Anttila CJ, Vlcek B, Bimpisidis Z, Lagerström MC, Konradsson-Geuken Å, Wallén-Mackenzie Å.
Sci Rep. 2016. 6:35203.

Cre-driven optogenetics in the heterogeneous genetic panorama of the VTA.
Pupe S & Wallén-Mackenzie Å.
Trends Neurosci. 2015. Jun;38(6):375-86. Review.

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10 December 2021
11:30 - 12:30
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