Nadir Bilici

Characterizing Dopamine D1R and D2R expressing neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex

Many years of research have established dopamine as a key neuromodulator required for learning and adapting behavioral responses to a changing environment. Dopamine actions are mediated by two classes of receptors, with largely antagonistic effects: the D1 group mainly leads to excitation-like effects in neurons, while the D2 group has inhibition-like effects. Particularly, the medial prefrontal cortex contains neurons expressing both D1 and D2 receptors, which have been implicated in a large number of normal and pathological behaviors. Although recent research links dopamine receptor D1 expressing neurons to working memory in the PFC, most studies do not explain how normal dopamine release, acting through both D1 and D2 receptors is able to produce a coherent behavioral effect. How does dopaminergic neuromodulation in the medial prefrontal cortex lead to plasticity and learning? The goal of my project is to characterize the role of dopamine receptor D1 and D2 expressing neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you for sponsoring SURF. During the school year, I'm only able to go into lab for a few hours per week -- I always want to spend more time learning in lab, but my time is limited. Being able to pursue full-time research for two month changes that. With SURF and the Rose Hills Foundation, I'm able to pursue my passion for research and immerse myself in papers, methods, and my experiments. I look forward to a summer of learning. Thank you!
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology: Neurobiology, Education (minor)
  • Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills fellow
  • Mentor: Mu-ming Poo, Molecular and Cell Biology