Information theoretic analysis tools for studying the cellular assembly of memory
Simon Schultz (Bioengineering)
David Dupret (Brain Network Dynamics Unit, University of Oxford)
William Wisden (Bioengineering)
How do memories form? This is one of the core problems of modern neuroscience. As well as underpinning much work in the basic neuroscience of brain and behaviour, understanding memory encoding is extremely important to our prospects for developing effective treatments of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, in which memory impairment is a major symptom.
This project brings together a multidisciplinary team to study how firing patterns in hippocampal cell assemblies are involved in the consolidation of memory throughout the brain. You will develop new quantitative algorithms, based on information theory, to measure the amount of information contained in hippocampal cell assemblies about memory conditions, and to break it down into contributions from specific spatiotemporal firing patterns such as SWRs. You will apply this methodology to both existing data collected in Oxford, and new experimental data collected in Oxford and London. Finally, you will use the results of this work to develop novel experimental technology for probing memory, including the application of closed loop optogenetics during behaviour or sleep to reactivate specific patterns of activity.