PBS Research Seminar Series
*Internal event for LSE staff and students
Speaker; Tomás Ryan, Trinity College Dublin
Learned and Innate Information Storage in Memory Engrams
How are memories stored in the brain as information? Memory engrams are the hypothetical storage sites of learned information. According to memory engram theory, learning induces persistent changes in a specific group of brain cells that retain information and are subsequently reactivated upon appropriate conditions, resulting in memory recall. Though the engram concept has intuitive appeal, experimental limitations have prevented it from being directly tested.
Over the past five years, the ability to label, observe, and manipulate specific neuronal ensembles in an activity-dependent manner has allowed us to identify components of specific memory engrams in the brain. I will describe the early development of engram technology and how it enables us to label sparse populations of brain cells that are both sufficient and necessary for the recall of specific memories. I will then present our more recent research on engram plasticity, in order to demonstrate how engram technology can be applied to progressive investigation into the neurobiology of memory storage.
I will then present a novel theory of stable information storage through the formation of a distributed and hierarchical circuits composed of specific engram cell connectivity patterns. I will describe a recent departure, investigating how engram formation is modulated by development from infancy to adulthood. Finally a will propose a new evolutionary framework where engram formation may influence the evolution of innate, instinctual information representations (ingrams) in the brain. A case will be made for the informational equivalence of memories and instincts, and the resultant implications for biological and cultural evolution will be discussed.
When: 12:00-13:00, Wednesday October 17th, 2018
Where: LSE, QUE 3.28 and 3.29