We previously created a mouse model to permanently label neurons activated during learning, the ArcCreERT2 mice (Denny et al., 2014, Neuron). In our first publication, we extensively characterized the ArcCreERT2 mice and manipulated various parameters to correlate behavioral expression with memory tagging. Using contextual fear conditioning (CFC), we showed that mice re-exposed to a fearful context freeze more and have a greater percentage of reactivated cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) and in CA3 than mice exposed to a novel context. Overall, we found that context, time, adult hippocampal neurogenesis, and stress impact cognition and mood, and these alterations are paralleled by changes in memory trace activation in the hippocampus. In our more recent studies, we have investigated how disease states and pharmacological manipulations impact memory traces (Perusini et al., 2017; Mastrodonato et al., 2018; Lacagnina et al., 2019; Leal Santos et al., 2021).
Our ongoing/planned projects are to identify: 1) how individual memories are stored throughout the entire brain using a novel whole-brain imaging pipeline we have recently developed, 2) how multiple memories are co-stored throughout the brain using a new activity-dependent viral strategy, and 3) how disease states impact memories, often resulting in memory loss.
Rudy North Lecture Theatre “Live” Screening
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