Read about one of our Editor’s Choice picks and the student author at the Journal of Emerging Investigators.
Meet the Student Author
Yash Gollapudi is a high school senior at Blacksburg High School in Virginia and plans to attend the University of Virginia beginning in fall 2023. Yash first learned about Dr. Timothy Jarome's laboratory because he wanted to gain research experience in the field of neuroscience, and the research that was being done in Dr. Jarome’s laboratory about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fear memory formation was of great interest to him. After observing the projects that other members of the lab were completing, he wanted to challenge himself and embarked on his own independent project. With the help of Dr. Jarome and other students in the laboratory, Yash was able to dive deeper into the fear circuit of the brain and model the sex differences that were present with fear memory formation. Completing this research project was a great experience for Yash and sparked an interest in continuing to conduct research throughout his college education.
Learn More About Yash’s Research
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after experiencing a traumatic event. Women report developing PTSD at much higher rates compared to men, despite not experiencing more traumatic events. This suggests that sex differences are likely the cause of the contrasting PTSD rates between men and women.
Previous research by Dr. Jarome showed that biological tagging of certain proteins with a marker called ubiquitin was important for the fear response that leads to PTSD, and this was different between males and females. However, this research only examined a certain part of the brain. Thus, Yash investigated whether this same phenomenon was also true in other parts of the brain.
Yash tested whether this ubiquitin tagging in various areas of the brain was different between male and female rats when subjected to fear-inducing conditions. Using a method to measure the levels of ubiquitin tagging, Yash observed a difference in ubiquitin tagging in the entorhinal cortex of the brain depending on the sex of the rat. Male rats had higher levels of ubiquitin tagging compared to female rats, but these levels dropped when trained in fear-inducing conditions. This decrease, however, did not also occur in female rats.
These data provide insight into how our brains form the fear memories that lead to PTSD. Importantly, Yash and his colleagues found a new mechanism that could further explain why women develop PTSD at higher rates than men. Yash hopes that future studies will build on these findings to generate a more complete understanding of the sex differences of PTSD.
Check out the full manuscript to learn more about Yash’s research and why his manuscript was selected as an Editor’s Choice manuscript.
The material on this page was prepared by Clayton Bishop, JEI Head Copy Editor. Yash Gollapudi provided the photo and personal biography which was edited lightly for clarity.