Group research focus
The central nervous system has the remarkable ability to process and store information. A crucial step in the formation of long-term memory (LTM) is consolidation, a process in which short-term memory (STM) is converted to LTM. Another striking feature of memory is the retrieval of LTM, whereby memory traces previously stored in defined neuronal circuits are accessed. The hippocampus is a brain region where important cellular processes take place during consolidation and recall of explicit memories. Our lab addresses functional circuits and molecular mechanisms that mediate hippocampus-dependent memory.
Our past efforts have focused on the diversity of molecular mechanisms regulating activation of the Erk/MAP kinase–CREB pathway during new memory formation.
We are now characterizing the tyrosine phosphatases responsible for the transient nature of MAPK stimulation in the hippocampus. Another project involves the use of advanced imaging techniques and transgenic reporter mice to functionally map the populations of neurons that make up the traces of various types of memories. We are also using behavioral assays combined with (in)activation and viral restoration approaches to dissect the contribution of synaptic signals arising from select neuronal projections to the phases of memory.