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Séminaire LNC : Daniel Bendor

Daniel Bendor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Manipulating Hippocampus-dependent memories

The hippocampus is critical for encoding recent episodic experiences into memory. After an initial encoding phase, a memory is believed to undergo a process of consolidation in which its representation is stabilized in neocortex, allowing future retrieval to be independent of the hippocampus. Using pharmacogenetics, we have developed a method of reversibly and remotely inactivating the entire hippocampus and blocking hippocampus-dependent memory recall. In the first part of my talk, I will discuss how we have used pharmacogenetics to investigate how critical the hippocampus is in recalling a contextual fear memory at multiple time points during memory consolidation.

The second part of my talk will be focused on a potential mechanism that could be utilized by the brain for memory consolidation. In rodents, neurons in hippocampus and cortex that were active during a previous experience have been observed to spontaneously reactivate. This replay is a neural correlate of memory, but whether it plays a functional role in memory consolidation is still an open question. I will discuss how auditory stimulation can be used to bias which memories are replayed by the hippocampus and the implications of biased-replay on memory consolidation.