Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #97
SQAB Tutorial: Using Genetically Modified Organisms to Probe Neurobiological Bases of Behavior
Saturday, May 25, 2019
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich D
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
PSY/BACB/NASP CE Offered. CE Instructor: Paul Soto, Ph.D.
Chair: Jesse Dallery (University of Florida)
Presenting Authors: : PAUL SOTO (Louisiana State University)

This tutorial will provide a general introduction to some technologies available for manipulating gene expression in mice. Technologies for manipulating gene expression can be used to investigate the neurobiological contributors to behavior. Results obtained from studies in dopamine receptor knockout mice on the role of dopamine receptors in food’s reinforcing efficacy will be used as an example of use of a global knockout approach. Results obtained from studies in Alzheimer’s transgenic APPswe/PS1dE9 mice on the role of beta amyloid in cognitive decline will be used as an example of a transgene approach. Additionally, the tutorial will discuss emerging technologies that allow precise control over the timing and location of modification of genetic expression. These emerging technologies allow behavioral researchers to investigate the role of neurobiological variables on behavior from a developmental perspective and to address questions regarding the role of particular brain regions in behavior. Genetically modified organisms provide a promising avenue for fruitful collaborations between behavior analysts and geneticists, neuroscientists, and scientists in other complementary areas.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) distinguish genetic knockout and transgene manipulations; (2) describe emerging technologies for regionally and temporally selective manipulations of gene expression; (3) describe the impact of dopamine receptor deletion on reinforcer efficacy; and (4) describe the impact of transgene-mediated build-up of beta amyloid on delayed matching-to-position and 3-choice serial reaction time task performances.
PAUL SOTO (Louisiana State University)
Dr. Soto completed graduate training in psychology at Emory University and postdoctoral training in behavioral pharmacology at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to accepting a position at LSU in 2017, Dr. Soto held tenure-track appointments in the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University and Texas Tech University. Dr. Soto’s research interests are in (1) the use of laboratory animal models of psychiatric diseases and symptoms for the evaluation of potential therapeutic approaches, (2) the use of drugs and genetically engineered animals to identify the neurobiological contributors to basic and complex behavioral processes, and (3) the investigation of short- and long-term effects of exposure to psychiatric medications. Some of Dr. Soto’s research has involved the investigation of the role of dopamine D2-like receptors in learning and memory and the long-term effects of early-life exposure to ADHD stimulant medications and antipsychotic medications, both of which are frequently prescribed in children. Dr. Soto’s research has been published in many journals including high impact journals such as Neuropsychopharmacology and Psychopharmacology.  Additionally, Dr. Soto recently completed a four-year appointment as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Finally, Dr. Soto is currently managing the final year of an NIH R15 project to investigate the longitudinal profile of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice.



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