Learning, Memory and Plasticity Group


Research laboratories in the Learning and Memory group adopt different experimental approaches to characterize plasticity mechanisms:

1. Lymnaea stagnalis: a simple system approach to studying learning and memory

A tractable invertebrate network, the feeding system of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis is used to identify and characterize the cellular and molecular changes underlying long-term memory (LTM)s. Gastropod molluscs like Lymnaea offer major advantages for learning and memory studies in that they exhibit associative learning similar to vertebrates but require a much smaller number of neurons, allowing study of learning-induced changes in single identified neurons of known function (Benjamin et al., 2000).

2. Hippocampal neurons (Staras lab.)

Networks of primary cultured neurons and acute slice preparations are used to examine novel features of plasticity at a fundamental level. A major focus of the lab is in looking at dynamic features of vesicle pools that underlie synaptic strengthening. The research combines state-of-the-art fluorescent imaging methods with electrophysiology and correlative electron microscopy techniques.