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MizzouForward Keynote – The role of cortical long-range GABAergic inhibition on emotional learning and decision-making



November 30th | 9:15am – 10:15am

111 Tucker Hall

Join us for The role of cortical long-range GABAergic inhibition on emotional learning and decision-making." a keynote presentation by College of Arts & Science-Biological Sciences, MizzouForward faculty candidate. Dr. Alfonso Apicella. Dr. Apicella will present on his research for approximately 40-minutes with a 20-minute question and answer session to follow.


Dr. Alfonso Apicella is an Associate Professor of Biology/Neuroscience at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Dr. Apicella earned his B.S. in Biology and PhD in Neurosciences from the University of Naples, Italy. 


Every day, we perceive a barrage of stimuli from the external world. Amazingly, despite this incredible amount of information, we/animals determine which stimuli they will act upon (e.g., running toward the sound of prey or running away from the sound of a predator). Such goal-directed behaviors are crucial dynamic links between sensory stimuli and motor. Sensations and thoughts result from the coordinated activity of neuronal populations in space and time—cortical microcircuits process sensory information to drive behavior. Dr. Apicella’s research aims to decipher how populations of neurons, through the specific spatial and temporal structure of cortical activity “connectivity patterns,” encode information, generate perceptions, and execute behavioral decisions requires working at both the cellular and system levels. Every neuroscience textbook states that a well-established principle of the neocortical circuit organization is that inhibition is local while excitation is both local and long-range. Therefore, our current belief about GABAergic interneurons is that they only process information within a restricted cortical region. However, we have established that inhibition in the neocortex is also long-range across cortical and subcortical areas. Since starting his independent research group in 2013, Dr. Apicella has developed a research program that has demonstrated a cell-type-specific functional organization of long-range inhibitory projections from the auditory, visual, and motor cortices. This prevalence of long-range GABAergic neurons across various cortical regions suggests that they are a general feature of the cortical circuit organization.  His future goal is to continue investigating the cell-type, circuit organization, and behavioral role of the GABAergic neurons with long-range axonal arborization.  Dr. Apicella believes that this will lead to a new view of brain function in which information across areas is carried by both excitatory as well as inhibitory neurons. This could change the way neuroscience textbooks are written.


You can access Dr. Apicella’s CV via OneDrive here:

​CV_Apicella_2022.pdf icon CV_Apicella_2022.pdf  (University log in required to access)

After the keynote, please provide candidate feedback with our brief survey.

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