Anne-Sophie Hafner
Anne-Sophie Hafner

ERC starting grant for Anne-Sophie Hafner

Cracking the Synaptic Memory Code
Anne-Sophie Hafner, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

Synapses play an important role in long-term information storage in the brain. They are highly dynamic: in the adult mouse brain, it takes a few days for dendritic spines to be replaced. Similarly, at the molecular level, most synaptic proteins have half-lives in the order of a week, meaning they constantly need to be replaced by freshly produced ones. Understanding how long-term memory can arise from unstable elements is one of today’s great neuroscience challenges.

Anne-Sophie Hafner discovered that most synapses produce their own proteins locally. She will combine multiple research methods to unravel how the local production of new proteins contributes to information storage at synapses. Such a fundamental understanding of brain function is needed to provide new avenues of defence against neurodegenerative diseases.