Internally generated sequences are substrates of episodic memory

March 16, 2017 -
11:30am to 12:30pm
Yingxue Wang; hosted by Greg Field

Episodic memory is not simply a stack of standalone photographs that record moments in our lives. Instead, it is a stream of interconnected moments that encode a unique personal experience. It is still largely unknown how a stream of memory traces is encoded in forms of neuronal activity patterns, and what hippocampal circuit mechanisms support the generation of such activity patterns. Using memory tasks that can reversibly toggle the influence of sensory inputs on and off, we were able to isolate the sequential neuronal activity associated with internally stored traces from those attributable to sensory inputs. As a result, we identified hundred-millisecond-long internally generated sequences that are highly associated with episodic memory. Using memory-related neuronal sequences as an entry point, I am interested in understanding how the elements of hippocampal circuits support the generation of these neuronal sequences thus allowing us to remember, think and imagine.

Yingxue Wang received her M.S. degree from Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, and Ph.D degree from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland, both in electrical engineering. She is currently working in Dr. Eva Pastalkova's lab at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her research interest is to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying memory formation, storage and retrieval.