Lorna Role, Ph.D.
Circuits, Synapses and Molecular Signaling Section
Building 35A, Room GF-149
35 Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
Dr. Role’s research focuses on the brain’s cholinergic system over the lifespan. Cholinergic signaling—which is essential for attention, cognitive processing, and memory—is compromised in neurological disorders including Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. The lab has focused primarily on physiological approaches to cholinergic circuits and neural-systems analysis in genetically modified mice. Recently, we have expanded our research to include human studies of mild cognitive impairment. In this work, we are using a novel positron-emission tomography tracer of cholinergic neurons in the brain. Her lab is using new molecular genetic approaches to dissect the role of cholinergic modulation in the encoding of high-salience memories. Detecting saliency (the quality of something standing out or being noticeable) facilitates learning and survival by enabling organisms to focus their perceptual and cognitive resources on the most pertinent subset of the available sensory data. They are also developing high-volume imaging and computational approaches for mapping cholinergic projections, and we have been collaborating on studies of new imaging probes for the assessment of cholinergic-terminal integrity in dementia.
Crouse RB, Kim K, Batchelor HM, Girardi EM, Kamaletdinova R, Chan J, Rajebhosale P, Pittenger ST, Role LW, Talmage DA, Jing M, Li Y, Gao XB, Mineur YS, Picciotto MR. Acetylcholine is released in the basolateral amygdala in response to predictors of reward and enhances the learning of cue-reward contingency. Elife. 2020;9.
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This page was last updated on August 27th, 2021