Christoph Wiedenmayer

Sackler Institute Columbia University, New York, NY 
Developmental Psychobiology
"Christoph Wiedenmayer"

Animals have the ability to recognize dangerous situations and to perform appropriate fear-related responses to counter the threat. During development, fear responses undergo profound changes as the animal matures. Changes in responsivity to threatening stimuli help the growing organism to deal with environmental challenges. However, such developmental plasticity can also put the young animal at risk and result in pathological fear. In our research, we investigate the neural substrate that underlies fear behavior in early life.

First, we identify circuits in the brain that mediate fear responses in the young animal. We use ecologically relevant situations such as predator exposure or social threat to elicit fear behavior. We then use neurobiological techniques to assess brain areas and neurotransmitters that mediate fear behavior. We have found that forebrain and brainstem structures form circuits that underlie responses to threatening stimuli.

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Oliver CF, Kabitzke P, Serrano P, et al. (2016) Repeated recall and PKMζ maintain fear memories in juvenile rats. Learning & Memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.). 23: 710-713
Kabitzke PA, Barr GA, Chan T, et al. (2014) Medial prefrontal cortex processes threatening stimuli in juvenile rats. Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. 39: 1924-32
Kabitzke PA, Silva L, Wiedenmayer C. (2011) Norepinephrine mediates contextual fear learning and hippocampal pCREB in juvenile rats exposed to predator odor. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 96: 166-72
Chan T, Kyere K, Davis BR, et al. (2011) The role of the medial prefrontal cortex in innate fear regulation in infants, juveniles, and adolescents. The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society For Neuroscience. 31: 4991-9
Kabitzke PA, Wiedenmayer CP. (2011) Effects of the stimulus and chamber size on unlearned fear across development. Behavioural Processes. 86: 257-62
Wiedenmayer C. (2010) Sensitive periods in the behavioral development of mammals Formative Experiences: the Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology. 82-105
Wiedenmayer CP. (2009) Plasticity of defensive behavior and fear in early development. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 33: 432-41
Bateson P, Hofer M, Oppenheim R, et al. (2007) Developing a framework for development: a discussion. Developmental Psychobiology. 49: 77-86
Wiedenmayer CP, Bansal R, Anderson GM, et al. (2006) Cortisol levels and hippocampus volumes in healthy preadolescent children. Biological Psychiatry. 60: 856-61
Chen SW, Shemyakin A, Wiedenmayer CP. (2006) The role of the amygdala and olfaction in unconditioned fear in developing rats. The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society For Neuroscience. 26: 233-40
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