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Learning and memory

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Research in this area is focused on determining the neural substrates of olfactory memory, visual recognition memory and spatial memory. All of these forms of memory provide excellent model systems with which to probe the cellular and molecular processes that underlie memory acquisition, consolidation and retrieval, and the neural networks involved in coordinating activity across multiple brain regions.

Neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric conditions are a major national concern, with the number of people set to suffer cognitive impairments due to various forms of dementia set to rise significantly in the UK over the coming years with an aging population. Work in the School, in association with industrial partners, is investigating the role played by amyloid and tau proteins in the disruption of neuronal plasticity and how that feeds into the disruption of memory.

Equally important are investigations into the role of the loss of synchronous neuronal activity in models of schizophrenia or ADHD that may lead to dysfunctional interactions between brain regions. Such disruption leads to impaired neural coordination that may be the basis for the sensory confusion and cognitive overload that lies at the heart of these conditions.

This area contributes to the wider Neuroscience research theme within the School of Physiology and Pharmacology.