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Friday Seminar – Antoine Besnard

vendredi 19 janvier / 11:30

Venue : Centre Broca

Antoine Besnard
IGF (Institute of Functional Genomics) – Montpellier, France

Invited by Rui Rodrigues (Marsicano’s team)


Putting defensive behaviors in their place


Animals can respond to danger by producing static or dynamic reactions (freezing or flight) and actions (passive or active avoidance). Although the focus on defensive reactions has largely overshadowed defensive actions, recent conceptual and methodological advancements have re-energized the study of avoidance behavior. Much of the historical work focusing on avoidance behavior has relied on conditioned stimuli (auditory, visual) to avoid a punishment. In contrast, much less is known regarding how individuals learn to actively avoid places and social cues. It is thus important to expand the study of avoidance to more naturalistic situations. As part of this endeavor, we repurposed a spatial navigation task to begin to characterize the neural correlates of active place avoidance across distributed brain regions, neural circuits and cell types. Insights generated from this line of work could help better understand excessive and persistent behavioral avoidance, hallmark of fear and anxiety disorders.

Key publications

Top-down regulation of motivated behaviors via lateral septum sub-circuits.
Besnard A, Leroy F.
Mol Psychiatry. 2022 Aug;27( 8):3119-3128. doi:
10.1038/s41380-022-01599-3. Epub 2022 May 18

Distinct Dorsal and Ventral Hippocampal CA3 Outputs Govern Contextual Fear Discrimination.
Besnard A, Miller SM, Sahay A.
Cell Rep. 2020 Feb 18;30(7):2360-2373.e5. doi:

Dorsolateral septum somatostatin interneurons gate mobility to calibrate  context-specific behavioral fear responses.
Besnard A, Gao Y, TaeWoo Kim M, Twarkowski H, Reed AK, Langberg T, Feng
W, Xu X, Saur D, Zweifel LS, Davison I, Sahay A.
Nat Neurosci. 2019 Mar;22(3):436-446. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0330-y.
Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Targeting Kruppel-like Factor 9 in Excitatory Neurons Protects against Chronic Stress-Induced Impairments in Dendritic Spines and Fear
Besnard A, Langberg T, Levinson S, Chu D, Vicidomini C, Scobie KN, Dwork AJ, Arango V, Rosoklija GB, Mann JJ, Hen R, Leonardo ED, Boldrini M,
Sahay A.
Cell Rep. 2018 Jun 12;23(11):3183-3196. doi:

Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis, Fear Generalization, and Stress.
Besnard A, Sahay A.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016 Jan;41(1):24-44. doi:
10.1038/npp.2015.167. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

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Date :
vendredi 19 janvier
Heure :
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