Work in our lab focuses on mechanisms of learning, memory and forgetting. Our work is applicable to understanding both normal and pathological memory in conditions such as aging, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and brain injury. We approach these broad topics using several cutting-edge techniques.
We are interested in memory consolidation and the persistence of memory over time, the underlying neural mechanisms that support this and the pathological conditions that interrupt normal memory processes. An overarching aim is to address questions related to these research topics at multiple levels of analysis. For example, memory stability may relate to synaptic function and spine dynamics (i.e. microscale changes) however we also investigate the mesoscale and macroscale organization of memory. This can be approached by studying the functional connectivity of different regions throughout the brain.
With respect to adult neurogenesis we are interested in understanding the functional consequences of adding new neurons into existing circuitry. We have previously shown at the behavioural level that adult neurogenesis provides a mechanism for reducing memory interference by enhancing forgetting of old memories. Current work is focused on examining how this occurs at the cellular and network level and whether this can be applied to conditions such as dementia or age-related memory loss where memory interference can be a substantial problem.
Adult neurogenesis mediates forgetting of multiple types of memory in the rat
Disrupted Neurogenesis in Germ-Free Mice: Effects of Age and Sex
Brain-wide neuronal activation and functional connectivity are modulated by prior exposure to repetitive learning episodes
Neurogenesis-induced forgetting is associated with reduced neuronal activity in CA1 during context fear memory retrieval