Research in our laboratory is focused on providing a more complete understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in cognition and memory storage in the mammalian brain. Specifically, we are interested in the role that immediate-early genes (IEGs) induced by neural activated associated with learning play in stabilizing neural networks to ultimately encode long-term memories. These studies require a multidisciplinary approach, using methods from molecular biology, biochemistry, and systems- and behavioral neuroscience. Our work can be divided broadly into 3 main areas: 1) Determining the molecular and systems interactions regulating IEG expression following learning, 2) Identifying the role of different IEGs to neuroplastic processes, and 3) Using advanced IEG imaging methods to define neuronal population interactions involved in learning and memory. This research will increase understanding of the neurobiological bases of memory and may provide the basis for future advances in the diagnosis and treatment of memory disorders in humans.
Learning, memory, synaptic plasticity, hippocampus, gene expression, immediate early gene imaging