Aging & memory research

What we Study and How

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OUR experimental contexts

Learning depends on a series of often briefly expressed plasticity mechanisms contributing to memory initiation, memory strengthening, and memory consolidation. Memory retrieval can evoke additional plasticity that affects later retrievals. Learning always occurs within a context.

Previous experience, genetics and environment define the context within which cellular, local circuit, network and larger-scale plastlicity and long-term systems level properties emerge.

Aging produces specific non-global changes at the molecular, cellular, network and behavioral levels. Some plasticity mechanisms are robust across the lifespan, while others are more vulnerable to disruption. Comparing multiple physiological measures across domains at a large number of age points allows us to predict specific age-dependent effects and find relationships between them, and ultimately can lead to better tools to manipulate and even reverse age-associated deficits.

By analyzing neuronal properties and relating these to context-specific events, we aim to achieve a more complete understanding of the cellular mechanisms underlying learning and memory. This basic knowledge is critical for development of better therapeutic strategies.

In vitro recording

experience- & region-specific plasticity in young neurons

experience-dependent plasticity in aging neurons

kinetics of calcium-dependent K+ channels

pharmacology of calcium-dependent K+ channels

physiology of hippocampus, amygdala, subiculum, and EC

in vivo recording

place-cell stability & plasticity in young & aging rats

place-cell stability & plasticity in pathologies like tinnitus

place-cell stability & plasticity in knockout mice

behavioral pharmacology

NR agonists/antagonists/partial-agonists as nootropics

K+ channel blockers as nootropics

antioxidants as nootropics

neurochemistry

phosphorylation-dependent plasticity

NR mediated plasticity

Ca2+ mediated plasticity

stress mediated plasticity

learning & memory

age-dependent deficits in spatial learning

age-dependent deficits in associative learning

age-dependent deficits in cognitive processing

fmri

learning-dependent BOLD plasticity in aging humans