There is now widespread agreement that different 'types' of memory are processed by different areas of the brain. One of the primary brain areas involved in the processing and temporary storage of some forms of memory is the hippocampus; however, relatively little known about the specific types of memory dependent on the hippocampus and the biological mechanisms underlying this process and storage. Like most brain areas, the hippocampus can be divided into separate functional and anatomical subregions, which have recently been shown to contribute differentially to two forms of memory commonly referred to as contextual memory (i.e. memory for the spatial contexts in which certain events occur) and trace memory (i.e. short-term memory for specific information). This project will systematically examine the contributions of these hippocampal subregions to contextual and trace learning by using techniques designed to temporarily inactivate, or 'turn off' these areas either before learning or before recall at a later time. Moreover, recently data suggest that the activity of a specific gene, ARC, is regulated within these brain areas by learning. In order to more fully understand the biochemical processes underlying memory formation, this project will further examine the activity of this learning-related gene within the hippocampus during and after learning. These inactivation and genetic studies will provide a significantly more precise characterization of the types of memory processed by each of these hippocampal subregions as well as the basic biological mechanisms by which this processing and storage occurs. These studies will also provide important training opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students who are pursuing careers in science. Graduate students will receive intensive training in research techniques and scholarship, help mentor undergraduate students, and all will present their research projects at national and international meetings.
|Effective start/end date||7/1/09 → 6/30/12|
- National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))