Sugandha Sharma, masters student graduate of the University of Waterloo's CTN, discusses her research and time in the laboratory of CTN Founding Director Chris Eliasmith as well as her current PhD research at MIT on the Generally Intelligent Podcast. Give it a listen.
A part of the brain called the hippocampus is thought to be crucial for learning and memory and implicated in many incurable disorders ranging from Autism to Alzheimer's. Hence, it is crucial to understand how the hippocampus works. Decades of research shows that hippocampal damage in humans causes loss of episodic or autobiographical memory. But, such memory traces in hippocampal single neurons are hard to find. Instead research in the rodent hippocampus shows that the neurons encode spatial maps, or place cells. Place cells are common in rodents but rare in humans or nonhuman primates. These major discrepancies have hampered not only scientific progress, but also diagnosis and treatment of major disorders including ADRD. I will share our findings using virtual reality that address these questions and provide surprising answers that can significantly advance translation of basic science to treatments.