Thesis defense Evelien Schut (Donders series 384)
17 June 2019
Constructing knowledge: Semantic memories in mice
Knowledge about our world is formed based on multiple events experienced in our daily lives. Many studies have investigated how the brain processes recent everyday events. However, few studies have attempted to investigate how abstract knowledge is gradually constructed based on these everyday events. In this dissertation, we have developed a novel behavioral task to study how knowledge is constructed and which brain areas are involved in these processes. Using advanced neuroscientific techniques, networks of neurons in particularly the neocortex have been measured and manipulated as the animal was performing the memory task. To assess the translational value of this memory task, the constructing of knowledge was assessed in a mouse model for Kleefstra syndrome, a developmental condition typified by autism and intellectual disability. Together, the results in this dissertation contribute to our fundamental understanding of memory processing, in the healthy brain and in disease models.