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Novel Methods for Examining Prefrontal Interactions with Cortical and Subcortical Systems that Support Complex Mental Function

Meeting Summary
Rockville, Maryland

In July 2007, NIMH sponsored a workshop to identify the gaps in understanding of the anatomical and functional influences of the prefrontal cortex on circuits supporting complex mental functions, and to assess technologies that could enable a more precise understanding of these brain networks. The workshop highlighted several innovative methods, including the combination of multi-site recording with electrical and pharmacological inactivation and stimulation, in vivo imaging of circuits in animals, and genetic and molecular approaches for circuit tracing and manipulation. Participants agreed that the wider adoption of multi-level mechanistic approaches and collaborations between teams of investigators that can combine approaches to manipulate cells, synapses, and circuits with behavioral measures of complex cognitive, social, and emotional behavior would significantly advance our understanding of how the prefrontal cortex interacts with other brain circuits. For more information, please contact Kathleen Anderson at kanders1@mail.nih.gov.