Dr. Fred Helmstetter received a new five-year $1.8M R01 grant from the NIMH. His research project is entitled, “Systems and molecular mechanisms of retrival-dependent memory destabilization.
The project looks at how memories that have been formed in the brain can be changed or updated by later experience and neural activity. Information is often stored through modifications of the synapses or connections between cells. When long-term memories are recalled long after the original experience that formed them, these connections transition back in to a state that can be modified and updated. We use optogenetics to precisely control the activity of specific populations of neurons and then measure or manipulate some of the molecular processes we have previously shown to be important for memory storage.”