THE            QUIRK LAB


            Our lab studies the mechanisms of emotional regulation using extinction of conditioned fear.  Much of what is known about extinction comes from animal models using Pavlovian fear conditioning.  We found that a subregion of the prefrontal cortex, the infralimbic cortex (IL), is necessary for extinction (fear inhibition).  Moreover, we found that another mPFC subregion, the prelimbic cortex (PL), is necessary for fear expression.  We suggest that IL inhibits fear by inhibiting amygdala output, whereas PL drives fear by increasing amygdala output.  In addition to our rat studies, we are now studying fear in humans, with the goal of developing new treatments for anxiety disorders.

Laboratory of Fear Learning  

Department of Psychiatry

University of Puerto Rico

Medical School

PO Box 365067

San Juan, PR 00936

Phone/Fax: 787 999 3057

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Our Mission Statement

  1. 1.To increase understanding of how the brain overcomes fear.

  2. 2.To train effective scientific thinkers who value communication and collaboration.

  3. 3.To increase neuroscience practice in historically underrepresented countries.


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