Transcribing Memories: Memory Encoding by Transcriptionally-defined Active Neuronal Ensembles
Dr. Lin Yingxi
March 27 at 12:20pm in the Fralin Auditorium, 102 Fralin Hall
Hosted by Dr. D. Xie
Dr. Yingxi Lin is currently an associate professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience & Physiology at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Prior to joining SUNY at the end of 2018, she was an associate professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and an Investigator in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Originally from China, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Tsinghua University and her Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University. After completing a postdoctoral training with Dr. Michael Greenberg at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston, where she studied neuronal activity-dependent gene regulation and synapse development, she started her own lab at MIT in 2009. Work in Dr. Lin’s lab focuses on uncovering fundamental mechanisms of learning and memory and applying these discoveries to understand etiology of neurological disorders. Among her awards, she was named a John Merck Scholar in 2010 and a NARSAD Independent Investigator in 2015.
How are transient experiences converted into long-lasting memories? How do experiences modify behaviors? How do similar experiences elicit drastically different behavioral responses in the healthy and disease states? The key to answering these important questions is to understand how sensory information is processed and stored in the brain. My research aims to address these questions at the molecular and cellular level, by exploring the mechanisms by which experiences are coupled to synaptic modifications of neural circuits that lead to long-term behavioral changes. This is made possible by combining a very wide range of experimental techniques: generating molecular tools to genetically identify the ensembles of neurons in the brain that are activated by a specific sensory and behavioral experience, detecting the learning-induced synaptic changes on the ensemble neurons, dissecting the molecular pathways responsible for the synaptic modulation, and understanding how the ensemble neurons contribute to the neural computations underlying learning and memory. My talk will focus on the progress we have made in understanding the mechanisms underlying contextual memory formation in the hippocampus.