Prof. N. Abumaria

Principal Investigator

Research Directions
1. Studying the neural substrates of emotional memories.
2. Establishing and validating animal models of human mental disorders.
Contact  Information
Address: Room 312, Building 25, 130 Dong An Road, Institute of Brain Science and Center of Laboratory Animal Science, Fudan University, Shanghai China 200032
Tel: 086-21-54237371 Email: abumaria@fudan.edu.cn

Dr. Nashat Abumaria received his bachelor's degree in pharmacy (Dr. Pharmacist) from the University of Jordan in 2001. In 2006, he obtained his Ph.D. degree in neurosciences from the International Max-Planck Research School, Göttingen University, Germany. Upon completion of his first postdoctoral fellowship at the Laboratory of Clinical Neurobiology, German Primate Center in 2007, he moved to China and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Center for Learning and Memory in Tsinghua University. In 2011, he was appointed as a research associated professor in the Department of Basic Medical Research, School of Medicine, Tsinghua University. Currently, he is a professor and principle investigator at Institutes of Brain Science and Department of Laboratory Animal Science, School of medicine, Fudan University. Dr. Abumaria has authored 16 papers in international journals and received several awards, fellowships and grants. He has been actively engaged in teaching courses including neuropharmacology and physiology. He is on the editorial board of several journals including Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Frontier in Molecular Neuroscience and other peer-reviewed journals. He is also a regular reviewer in several journals.


Enrollment Major


Emotional memories of traumatic/fearful/aversive life events such as accidents, wars, natural disasters or major failures have special features that distinguish them from other kinds of memories (e.g., learned knowledge or locating a place). They are encoded rapidly, stored robustly and retrieved spontaneously. In some extreme cases storage and recollection of emotional memories persists whole lifetime. Consequently, they can have strong impact on behavior and, in humans, can result in psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, phobias and depression.

Our work focuses on how an emotional memory is encoded, stored, and retrieved, in order to understand why it is stored and retrieved in a robust and persistent way compared to normal, non-emotional memory. We employ behavioral (fear conditioning and non-aversive learning tasks), physiological and molecular (optogenetics, shRNA, pharmacogenetics) approaches to study the neural substrates of emotional memories. Our research could: i) advance our basic knowledge about emotional memory, ii) elucidate neural substrates that could serve as targets for future drug design to treat certain psychiatric disorders.


Selected Publications

  1. Abumaria N*, Luo L, Ahn M, Liu G (2013). Magnesium supplement enhances spatial-context pattern separation and prevents fear overgeneralization. Behav Pharmacol, 24: 255-263

  2. Abumaria N, Yin B, Zhang L, Li XY, Chen T, Descalzi G, Zhao L, Ahn M, Luo L, Ran C, Zhuo M, Liu G* (2011). Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. J Neurosci, 31:14871-14881

  3. Slutsky I#, Abumaria N#, Wu LJ, Huang C, Zhang L, Li B, Zhao X, Govindarajan A, Zhao MG, Zhuo M, Tonegawa S, Liu G* (2010). Enhancement of Learning and Memory by Elevating Brain Magnesium. Neuron, 65: 165-177 (#Equal contribution)

  4. Abumaria N*, Rygula R, Hiemke C, Fuchs E, Havemann-Reinecke U, Rüther E, Flügge G (2007). Effect of chronic citalopram on serotonin-related and stress-regulated genes in the dorsal raphe nucleus of the rat. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol, 17:417-429

  5. Rygula R#, Abumaria N#, Flügge G, Hiemke C, Fuchs E, Rüther E, Havemann-Reinecke U*(2006). Citalopram counteracts depressive-like symptoms evoked by chronic social stress in rats. Behav Pharmacol, 17:19-29(#Equal contribution)

Full Publications:


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