Maria Diehl, Ph. D.
Office: BH 417
Dr. Diehl's research program focuses on the understanding of how social stimuli can alter the neural circuits of fear and avoidance to reduce anxiety-like behaviors and subsequently promote resilient behaviors in rats. She uses a several techniques including single unit recordings and optogenetic manipulations in behaving rats.
Research in the Diehl laboratory seeks to understand why some individuals can overcome trauma and develop behavioral resilience, while other individuals go on to develop a neuropsychiatric disease, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. We are also interested in understanding how social stimuli can alter fear-related behaviors and the neural circuits that guide social interactions under aversive conditions. We combine rodent models of fear and avoidance learning with functional circuit mapping techniques to understand how behavioral resilience can augment the neural circuits of fear and avoidance. Undergraduates in the lab can expect to learn about animal behavioral paradigms that model clinical symptoms of excessive fear and avoidance as well as neural circuitry techniques such as single unit recordings and in vivo optogenetics. Many students also learn surgical techniques, critical interpretation of data, scientific literacy, and critical thinking skills.
Martínez-Rivera FJ, Pérez-Torres J, Velázquez-Díaz CD, Sánchez-Navarro MJ, Huertas-Pérez CI, Diehl MM, Phillips ML, Haber SN, Quirk GJ. “A novel insular/orbito-prelimbic circuit that prevents persistent avoidance in a rodent model of compulsive behavior.” Biological Psychiatry. (2022). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2022.02.008.
Diehl MM, Iravedra-Garcia JM, Morán-Sierra J, Rojas-Bowe G, Gonzalez-Diaz FN, Valentín-Valentín V, and Quirk GJ. Divergent projections of the prelimbic cortex bidirectionally regulate active avoidance. eLife. (2020). 9:e59281. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.59281.
Diehl MM, Bravo-Rivera C, Quirk GJ. “The study of active avoidance: a platform for discussion.” Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. (2019). 107: 229-237. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.09.010.
Diehl MM, Bravo-Rivera C, Rodríguez-Romaguera J, Pagán-Rivera PA, Burgos-Robles A, Roman-Ortiz C, Quirk GJ. “Active avoidance requires inhibitory signaling in the rodent prelimbic prefrontal cortex.” eLife. (2018). 7:e34657. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.34657.
Diehl MM, Lempert K, Parr A, Ballard I, Steele V, Smith DV. “Toward an integrative perspective on the neural mechanisms underlying persistent maladaptive behaviors.” European Journal of Neuroscience. (2018). 48: 1870-1883. DOI: 10.1111/ejn.14083.
Bravo-Rivera C, Diehl MM, Román-Ortiz C, Rodríguez-Romaguera J, Rosas-Vidal LE, Bravo-Rivera H, Quiñones-Laracuente K, Do-Monte FH. “Long range GABAergic neurons in the prefrontal cortex modulate behavior.” Journal of Neurophysiology. (2015). 114:1357-1359. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00861.2014.