Neurobiology of Memory: How Do We Acquire, Consolidate and Recall Memory
Susumu Tonegawa, Director, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory; ; Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, Departments of Biology and Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Description: In labs around the world, mice learn to navigate complex mazes, locate chocolaty rewards, and after an interval, run the mazes again with maximum efficiency, swiftly collecting all the sweets. But in Susumu Tonegawa's lab, the mutant mice he has created cannot perform these tasks. Tonegawa " knocks out" a gene that impairs a specific part of the mouse hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for spatial memory, among other things. Mutant mice struggle to acquire and recall information about their surroundings. Tonegawa's work involves manipulating genes to explore memory and learning from the most basic biochemical and cellular levels, up to the most complex behaviors. One of Tonegawa's goals in designing defective mice is to simulate profound human disorders, like schizophrenia.
About the Speaker(s): Susumu Tonegawa has received the highest honors for his work, including the 1987 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Albert and Mary Lasker Award and the Bristol Myers Squibb Prize in Cancer Research. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California at San Diego and trained at the Salk Institute as a postdoctoral student. In 1981, he was appointed Professor of Biology at MIT and a member of the Center for Cancer Research. He founded the Picower Center for Learning and Memory in 1994.
Host(s): School of Science, School of Science
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