Recent studies in the rat lab have focused on the control of gene expression and the need for new protein synthesis and protein degradation in neurons during the period immediately following learning or memory retrieval.
We are interested in the dynamics of gene expression changes throughout the brain during memory consolidation and the processes by which long term memories remain stable over long periods.
Other current projects include studies on molecular mechanisms of stress, modulation of pain sensitivity, functional magnetic resonance imaging in laboratory animals at high field strength (9.4T), and network level interactions betwen the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobe, to name a few.
Our human work uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other non-invasive approaches to "map" changes in brain activity during learning and remembering.
Here our focus has been on understanding how different circuits in the brain are responsible for "conscious" or explicit memories versus "unconscious" or implicit memories formed by the same event.
We've also been looking at how brain patterns change when learning about safety as opposed to danger and when recalling newly formed memories compared to events that happend in the relativity distant past.