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My research involves investigation of the molecular mechanisms that underpin the formation and storage of memory. Memories are stored in synapses, the connections between neurons, and on storing a memory, specific combinations of neurons grow stronger connections. The molecular mechanisms that underpin the formation and maintenance of memory, sometimes over a whole life-time, are not well understood.
Current research in my lab is focused on the role of histone modifications in long-term memory formation. An emerging body of evidence indicates that the acetylation state of specific histone marks influences whether memories can be formed or not. Moreover, histone acetylation is dysregulated in animal models of Alzheimer's disease.
Drosophila is an ideal model organism for studying memory due to its tractability to genetic analysis and the reproducible memory assays that have been developed. For such a small organism, Drosophila has a remarkably complex brain, with 200,000 neurons.
Many different techniques are employed in the lab including molecular biology, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, genetic analyses and behavioural assays.
Health and Well-being
Field of research codes
Biological Sciences (060000):
Central Nervous System (110903):
Epigenetics (incl. Genome Methylation and Epigenomics) (060404): Genetics (060400):
Medical And Health Sciences (110000):
Project Title: Genetic dissection of long-term memory formation
Date Range: 2013 - 2013
Funding Body: Massey University
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Last updated on Friday 23 June 2017