Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 3: Development and lifelong plasticity

Neuronal Networks of Memory

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and BehaviourWe study the dynamics of interaction between brain areas related to memory encoding and acquisition. In particular we are interested in in the exchange of information between the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex. We have previously showed that communication between hippocampus and prefrontal cortex changes as a function of behavioral demands and learning. (Benchenane et al. Neuron 2010)

During ‘offline’ periods, this interaction continues to support memory consolidation, by memory trace reactivation, the replay of neural patterns that originated in previous experience. Sleep plays a specific role in memory consolidation Slow-Wave Sleep (SWS) has been associated with the consolidation of declarative memories. SWS is characterized by slow oscillations of cortical field potentials, with bouts of intense firing separated by intervals of sparse activity, reflecting the bistability of the cortical network.

At the same time, the hippocampus engages in a more regular activity pattern, punctuated by large irregular activity containing rapid bursts of cell activity (sharp waves). The two phenomena are tightly related Together with A. Peyrache and S. Wiener (Paris), we developed a novel measure for memory trace reactivation (Peyrache et al. Nature Neuroscience 2009).

We are currently augmenting our methodological toolbox to include optogenetics stimulation, next generation silicon probes, closed loop pattern detection, thanks to two collaborative EU funded projects “ENLIGHTENMENT” and “NEUROSEEKER”. This will allow us to take the analysis of the neural dynamics of memory at the next level, potentially towards the manipulation of single memories, by combined readout and induction of neural patterns.

Name: Francesco Battaglia
Telephone: 024-3652433
Visiting address: Department of Neuroinformatics
Faculty of Science
Heyendaalseweg 135,
6525 AJ Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Department of Neuroinformatics
Faculty of Science
P.O. Box 9010
Internal Mailbox 66
6500 GL Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Key grants and prizes
  • NEUROSEEKER EU FET-Proactive Neuro-bio inspired Systems Collaborative project, as partner and scientific coordinator. Total worth €6000000, EU contribution to our group €600000
  • ENLIGHTENMENT, “Exploring the neural coding in behaving animals by novel optogenetic, high-density microrecordings and computational approaches: Towards cognitive Brain-Computer Interfaces “ EU FET-Open Collaborative project, total worth €2200000, EU contribution to our group € 500000. March 2012-March 2015
  • The lifetime of memories: neural network signatures of reconsolidation and cortico-hippocampal communication”: ALW open programma, awarded March 2010 (starting May 2011). € 308000
  • VENI Grant (Netherlands Science Foundation, NWO-MaGW) 2009
  • Our paper (Benchenane et al. 2010) was awarded the “Prix la Recherche” for best work in Neuroscience from French speaking countries in 2010
Key publications
  • Peyrache A, Battaglia FP, Destexhe A (2011) Inhibition recruitment in prefrontal cortex during sleep spindles and gating of hippocampal inputs, PNAS, 108, 17207-12
  • Benchenane K, Peyrache A, Khamassi M, Tierney PL, Gioanni Y, Battaglia FP, Wiener SI (2010) Coherent theta oscillations and reorganization of spike timing in the hippocampal- prefrontal network upon learning. Neuron 66:921-936. (joint senior co-authorship: FPB and Dr. S.I. Wiener).
  • Peyrache A, Benchenane K, Khamassi M, Wiener SI, Battaglia FP (2009) Replay of rule-learning related neural patterns in the prefrontal cortex during sleep. Nature Neurosci 12:919-926
  • B.L. McNaughton, F.P. Battaglia, O. Jensen, E.I. Moser and M.B. Moser (2006) Path-integration and the neural basis of the ‘cognitive map’ Nature Reviews Neuroscience 7 663-678
  • F.P. Battaglia, G.R. Sutherland and B.L. McNaughton (2004) Hippocampal sharp wave bursts coincide with neocortical "up-state" transitions. Learning and Memory 11 697-704