Kevin Pang, Ph.D.
Department of Neurology & Neurosciences
Rutgers - NJMS
Understanding risk factors for anxiety disorders using animal models
The etiology of anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves an interaction of experiences and risk factors. While much research on PTSD has focused on the effects of stressful experience, less is known about the neurobiology of risk factors. Our research focuses on risk factors involving 1) hippocampal function, 2) behavioral inhibition temperament, and 3) mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Using animal models, we explore these risk factors in the development of persistent avoidant responding, a common feature of anxiety disorders. Our research suggests hippocampal dysfunction and behavioral inhibition temperament, but not mTBI, may lead to anxiety vulnerability by enhancing sensitivity to acquire persistent avoidant behaviors.