Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 4: Brain Networks and Neuronal Communication

Neural Mechanisms of Episodic and Spatial Memory

The ability to form, store and recall episodic and spatial memories is central to everyday life. Yet, although important, this ability is immature at birth. Indeed, for most people the earliest memories they can recall is from ~3years of age - a phenomenon known as 'childhood amnesia'. Although the past decades have seen a concerted research effort dedicated to understanding the neurobiological basis of memory in adults, remarkably little is known about the processes mediating its maturation. My research goal is to elucidate the neural mechanisms supporting episodic and spatial memory.

To achieve this, my lab uses a combination of chronic neural recording (electrophysiology) and perturbation (e.g. opto- and chemogenetics) techniques that allow us to investigate how the activity of single neurons as well as neural network patterns relate to the gradual developmental unfoldment of memory in immature rodents. Furthermore, we study how changes in sleep patterns early in life and environmental conditions can influence memory maturation.

This research has numerous important implications. Firstly, understanding the mechanisms that underlie memory emergence provides a unique insight into the neural circuit operations supporting memory, across the lifespan. Further, it could delineate the requirements for healthy wiring of the memory system. Finally, the work could have important implications for understanding developmental amnesic conditions.

Contact
Name: Freya Ólafsdóttir
Telephone: 024-3652036
Email: h.olafsdottir@donders.ru.nl
Visiting address: Donders Centre for Neuroscience
Heyendaalseweg 135
6525 AJ Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Donders Centre for Neuroscience
P.O. Box 9010
6500 GL Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Key grants and prizes
Key publications
  • Ólafsdóttir HF, Carpenter F, Barry C (2016). Coordinated Grid and Place Cell Replay during Rest. Nature Neuroscience, 19(6):792-4. Volledige tekst
  • Ólafsdóttir HF, Carpenter F, Barry C (2017). Task Demands Predict a Dynamic Switch in the Content of Awake Hippocampal Replay. Neuron, 96(4):925-35, e6. Volledige tekst
  • Ólafsdóttir HF*, Barry C*, Saleem AB, Hassabis D, Spiers HS (2015). Hippocampal Place Cells Construct Reward Related Sequences through Unexplored Space. eLife, 4:e06063. Volledige tekst
  • Spiers, HJ*, Ólafsdóttir HF*, Lever, C (2017). Hippocampal CA1 Activity Correlated with the Distance to the Goal and Navigation Performance. Hippocampus Volledige tekst
  • Ólafsdóttir HF, Bush D, Barry C (2018). The Role of Replay in Memory and Planning. Current biology, 28(1):R37-50. Volledige tekst

Links


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Theme 4:
Neural Computation and Neurotechnology

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Research Group
Neurophysiology

Principal Investigator

Prof.dr. Tansu Celikel

Research Fellow

Dr. H. Freyja Ólafsdóttir

Group members
PhD'student
Juraj Bevandić

Bachelor students

Master students


(Update October 2019)