Neural circuitry of memory and decision-making in health and disease
Over the last two decades in neuroscience research, it has become clear that the aetiology of myriad neurological and psychiatric disorders may involve not only disruptions within specific neural circuits, but also disrupted communication between different areas of the brain. While research into memory has traditionally focused on the hippocampal formation, it is clear that numerous other brain regions are also critical for memory formation and storage. My research focuses on the Papez circuit, effectively the brain’s ‘extended memory circuit’, which incorporates regions such as hippocampal and entorhinal areas, as well as prefrontal and retrosplenial cortices. These highly interconnected regions are linked through a number of midline thalamic nuclei, which act as hubs to support memory and decision-making. I will discuss some ongoing research in my group that investigates this circuit using anatomical, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology plus behaviour. My primary focus will be on projects that span basic neuroscience, dementia and copy number variation mutations that are relevant to schizophrenia.