Dr. Alessio Attardo
Hippocampal plasticity, representation and memory during stress
The capability to store and consciously recall past experiences is crucial for survival and establishing a coherent sense of reality. This ability in mammals is dependent on the hippocampal formation, which encodes experience through coordinated neuronal activity. Our group studies the basic cellular mechanisms underlying the hippocampal ability to encode experience and memory. Furthermore, we are interested in how exposure to stress affects such mechanisms such leading to temporary and permanent memory impairment.
We use intravital optical imaging as the main tool to study neuronal plasticity and experience representation in the hippocampus of live mice performing hippocampal-dependent tasks. We also take advantage of molecular and genetic tools to investigate defined synapses and neuronal subpopulations and manipulate activity of defined neuronal populations. Together these tools enable us to investigate the interplay between cellular events and learning in the hippocampal formation going from molecular mechanisms to network-level computation.