Welcome back to another week’s blog!
This week has not been all that different from the week before, but now I seem to be drowning in the sea of research papers. Much of my reading this week has been about the serotonergic system, and its role in neuronal processes in the hippocampus. Turns out, serotonin has a lot more functions than I previously anticipated.
Many of us already know that serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood and emotion. However, serotonin also plays a role in cognition, learning, and memory (which is what my research will focus on). Many studies have found that patients suffering from mental illnesses, most notably Major Depressive Disorder, exhibit unusually low levels of serotonin. Because of this, the most common antidepressant drugs currently in use are designed to increase extracellular levels of serotonin by acting as a serotonin receptor antagonist. These antidepressants are called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, known to target the monoamine uptake transporter, SCL6A4. To make things more complex, serotonin has 15 different types of receptors, many of which can induce conflicting physiological responses.
I have also started an online neuroscience class to better understand the background of my research. This week, I learned about action potential propagation and the electrophysiology behind neuron functions. In other news, my professor has received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, meaning he will be able to return to labs soon!
Thanks for reading my blog; I’ll see you guys next week!