Discourses from the Academy: The Colloquium Series Sponsored by the Department of Psychology
A Reductionist Approach To Memory: Use Of The Zebrafish Mauthner Neurocircuit To Identify And Understand Memory Traces*
Adam Roberts, Ph.D.
University of California at Los Angeles
Candidate for Assistant Professor of Psychology, NMU
We are pleased to extend an invitation to all interested persons -- Faculty, Staff, Students, Members of the Public -- to join us in listening to and participating in this session of our Colloquia Series. For further information please contact the Psychology Department, N.M.U., 227-2935.
*Due to the complexity of the vertebrate nervous system, identification of memory traces at the level of neurocircuits in a precise and reliable manner is a formidable task. A reductionist approach to this task-use of behaviors with limited and well-defined neuronal pathways-should greatly facilitate the identification and elucidation of memory engrams. To this end, we have chosen to investigate learning and memory in a simple model vertebrate system: the larval zebrafish escape response. Biological attributes of larval zebrafish, such as transparency, in combination with a large toolbox to genetically manipulate neuronal function, makes this a highly tractable system for a mechanistic analysis of memory in a vertebrate organism. We have demonstrated long-term habituation of the escape response and have made significant progress toward understanding the molecular basis of this memory. I will present these findings and discuss the future direction of my research.
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