Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience
- What events in the brain occur during learning?
- Where and in what form does memory exist in the brain?
- How is memory stored and accessed in the brain?
- What events in the brain occur to change memories?
The neural basis of memory from the molecular to behavioral level
Animals including humans have the ability to record external information in the brain and extract the information when needed. This ability is essential for responding to an ever-changing environment, and its dysfunction can significantly impair cognitive behavior and quality of life.
Like the mind, memory is an intangible construct, but the neural basis of memory has been believed to reside in neuronal plasticity associated with experience. Therefore, scientifically, the study of memory involves identifying and characterizing the specific neuronal circuits and cell populations (memory engram) along with synaptic interactions that change with learning. From this study, we aim to clarify principles regulating learning and memory.
Our laboratory utilizes genetically modified mice to study memory engram. The studies apply behavior science, molecular and cellular biology, opto/chemo genetics and in vivo brain imaging. Ultimately, we aim to understand memory by observing the cell populations and circuits that constitute memory and develop strategies to artificial manipulate these systems when they go awry.