Network analysis of lateral entorhinal-hippocampal circuits for episodic memory

Supervisors: James Ainge, Emma Wood

Project Description:

The lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) is part of the medial temporal lobe memory network and is thought to bind together information about what happened during a remembered event. Its importance for memory processes is underscored by the observation that changes in the LEC are associated with the very early stages of Alzhemier’s disease. An understanding of the role of the LEC in memory and its loss will require knowledge of the pathways through which it processes neural signals. However, in contrast to other structures involved in episodic memory, we know very little about the organisation of neural circuits in the LEC.

This project will investigate the functional connectivity of molecularly defined cell populations in the LEC. Training will be provided in pharmacogenetic methods to activate and inactivate neuronal populations, and in electrophysiological approaches for recording from neurons in vivo. These experiments will be carried out in rodents performing memory guided behaviour. This provides an excellent opportunity to study the neural systems responsible for specific memory processes and learn cutting edge research methods to allow the system to be studied at the molecular, electrophysiological and cognitive levels.

The project will be based in St Andrews with collaborative work carried out in Edinburgh.

References

Kuruvilla MV, Ainge JA (2017). Lateral entorhinal cortex lesions impair local spatial frameworks. Frontiers in systems neuroscience 11, 30.

Wilson, D.I.G., Watanabe, S., Milner, H., Ainge, J. A., 2013. Lateral entorhinal cortex is necessary for associative but not nonassociative recognition memory. Hippocampus, 23, 1280–1290.

Langston RF*, Ainge JA*, Couey JJ, Canto CB, Bjerknes TL, Witter MP, Moser EI & Moser MB. (2010). Development of the spatial representation system in the rat. Science, 328, 1576-1580.

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