Christian Keysers

Christian Keysers

Neuroscience Symposium
Gazzola Group

The Neuroscience Symposia are organized weekly by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. The presentations are given by researchers from the institute or by guest speakers. The title and content of the symposium is usually made known in the week prior to the presentation.

Colloquium room – Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

4:00 pm

  1. Efe Soyman – Perceived Pain Intensity in the Human Insula
  2. Enrica Paradiso – Amygdala microcircuits for aversive learning

4:45 pm – Discussion and drinks



  1. Much is known about BOLD responses in the human insula, but much less is known about neural responses. This talk will present a study testing whether electrical activity in the human insula encodes the perceived painfulness of the witnessed pain to others. Patients implanted with intracranial electrodes for epileptic monitoring watched videos depicting face or hand expressions of different degrees of pain and rated the perceived pain intensity on a 1-to-4 scale. The results indicate that neural firing in the anteroventral insula, as proxied by high-gamma (80-200 Hz) activity, linearly scales with the perceived magnitude of pain induced to others.
  2. Local plasticity of excitatory projection neurons (PNs) in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is crucial for fear learning and BLA GABAergic interneurons tightly regulate PNs excitability. However, little is known about their contribution to fear memory formation. Using fear conditioning as a model for associative learning, we found that salient stimuli cause learning by recruiting a local BLA microcircuit consisting of precisely connected subtypes of inhibitory interneurons. By means of calcium imaging and optogenetics in freely behaving mice we demonstrate that vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP)-expressing interneurons in the BLA are strongly activated by aversive events during associative fear learning and they provide an instructive signal necessary for associative learning.