Dr H.F. Ólafsdóttir (Hauður Freyja)
Assistant professor - Donders Centre for Neuroscience - Neurobiology
Assistant professor - Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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.
- Ólafsdóttir HF, Carpenter F, Barry C (2016). Coordinated Grid and Place Cell Replay during Rest. Nature Neuroscience, 19(6):792-4. Full text
- 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. Full text
- Ólafsdóttir HF*, Barry C*, Saleem AB, Hassabis D, Spiers HS (2015). Hippocampal Place Cells Construct Reward Related Sequences through Unexplored Space. eLife, 4:e06063. Full text
- Spiers, HJ*, Ólafsdóttir HF*, Lever, C (2017). Hippocampal CA1 Activity Correlated with the Distance to the Goal and Navigation Performance. Hippocampus Full text
- Ólafsdóttir HF, Bush D, Barry C (2018). The Role of Replay in Memory and Planning. Current biology, 28(1):R37-50. Full text
H index: 7
Research grants and prizes
- 2018 - Donders Mohrmann Fellowship> More information