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Professor Clea Warburton

Neural substrates of learning and memory

My research interests are the neural and cellular substrates of learning and memory processes in animals. I am specifically interested in the distinct contributions the perirhinal and prefrontal cortices and the hippocampal formation make to recognition memory processing.

The work conducted by my research group has involved the use of a number of complementary behavioural, pharmacological and molecular techniques to examine the neural basis of recognition memory. In earlier experiments we  revealed the differential roles played by the perirhinal cortex, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in specific components of recognition memory, namely familiairity discrimination (our ability to tell if a stimulus such as an object, is familiar or novel); object-in-place associaitive recognition memory (our ability to tell if an object has changed its location); recency recognition memory (our ability to judge how recently an object has been encountered) .

The research uses a multidisciplinary approach incorporating molecular and cellular techniques with behavioural analysis of recognition memory. Most recently my lab have used pharmacogenetics and optogenetics to manipulate specific neural pathways between defined brain regions during specific phases of memory to uncover the nature of information processing across brain wide memory circuits.

Research keywords

  • memory
  • behaviour
  • prefrontal cortex
  • hippocampus
  • perirhinal
  • nucleus reuniens
  • glutamate receptor
  • immunocytochemistry

Diseases related to this field of research

  • Amnesia
  • Alzheimer's Disease

Processes and functions relevant to this work

  • Learning
  • memory

Research findings

  • Demonstration of distinct information processing pathways between the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex
  • The importance of the nucleus reuniens in associaitive recognition memory formation
  • Interactions between the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and perirhinal cortex are crucial for associative recognition memory formation 
  • Long and short term recognition memory depends on different receptor mechanisms (NMDAR and KAR, respectively). Read more >
  • Both medial prefrontal and perirhinal cortical regions are required for spatial and temporal associational memory Read more >
  • Phosphorylation of CREB is necessary for recognition memory and LTP in the perirhinal cortex

Collaborations

  • Professor James Uney
  • Professor Zafar Bashir