How does the brain set up memories? Memories are stored by changing the strength of neural connections, but how these networks are set up is poorly understood. Dr. Jason Climer is developing novel microscopy, molecular, and statistical techniques to learn how inputs shape memories formed during navigation.
I’m interested in the neural mechanisms for spatial navigation and episodic memory at the subcellular level. By developing two-photon imaging of dendritic spines, I study how place cells in hippocampal output area CA1 integrate the spatial and contextual information of their inputs. I received my PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2017 in David Foster’s lab, where I integrated in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics to uncover the contribution of hippocampal area CA3 to the formation of CA1 place cell responses.
John and his car
My goal is to understand how the brain processes information in a distributed and efficient manner. In particular, I am using imaging tools to study neural activity in the hippocampal formation during ongoing behavior.
Gilad and Shira
I am interested in how memories formed in the Hippocampal formation. Many models suggest a critical role for connections between cells in forming episodic memories. By developing novel techniques for imaging dendritic spines in vivo, I hope to test these models and produce mechanistic insights.
Mike and his food
I am interested in how spatial memories are created and stored in the brain and, more specifically, how synaptic integrative properties contribute to place field formation and maintenance in the hippocampus of awake behaving animals. By using in vivo two-photon imaging to record synaptic inputs to hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons in navigating mice, I hope to address some of these questions without creating too many more.
Maite and her King (of Spain)
Dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra have been implicated in an array of functions, from movement regulation to learning. I am interested in studying the relationship between this functional diversity and the recently discovered molecular diversity of dopamine neurons, trying to understand whether different dopaminergic neuron subtypes have distinct functions.
David Bowie the Cat and Brad
The world around us is comprised of many separate modalities of sensory features (sights, sounds, smells, etc.), yet from these disparate features the brain is able to construct a unified concept of space. What are the mechanisms by which the brain transforms raw sensation into spatial cognition? To answer this, we study the responses of hippocampal “place cells” to precisely-controlled sensory feature manipulations in visual and olfactory virtual reality.
Neuromodulators, such as acetylcholine, dopamine, play critical roles in many cognitive processes. My goal is to better understand neuromodulator signaling in the living brain in relation to animals’ behavior. More specifically, I’m interested in using optical methods (e.g. two-photon imaging) to record neuromodulator dynamics in vivo, and relating them to ongoing behaviors (e.g. spatial navigation). Furthermore, we could perturb these signaling to see how that would change behaviors.
Former Lab Members
Jim Heys (Assistant Professor University of Utah, website) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Howe (Assistant Professor Boston University, website) – email@example.com
Mark Sheffield (Assistant Professor University of Chicago, website) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Han (Assistant Professor Washington University, website) – email@example.com