Dr. Kamran Diba recently received an R01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health for a collaborative project with Dr. Sen Cheng from the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. This project, entitled “CRCNS: US-German Proposal: Mechanisms of sequence generation in the hippocampus,” aims to unify two phenomena that have largely been considered to be distinct: sequential activity during theta oscillations and offline sequential activity during sharp-wave ripples. To this end, the proposed work employs an innovative combination of state-of-the-art computational modeling of the hippocampal network, large-scale electrophysiology in the CA 1 and CA3 regions of freely-behaving and sleeping rats, with optogenetic silencing of CA3 during behavior and sleep.
Beyond their established role in memory formation and storage and related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, these networks and activity patterns have been implicated in a number of neurocognitive dysfunctions, including schizophrenia and epilepsy. Furthermore, the neural mechanisms of sequence generation to be investigated here are highly relevant for a variety of extra-hippocampal brain regions and tasks, including motor action planning, working memory, odor discrimination and more