Neural ensemble dynamics underlying a long-term associative fear memory


November 13, 2015 - 11:30am
Northwest 243
About the Speaker
Benjamin Grewe (Schnitzer Lab, Stanford)

Studies of ensemble neural dynamics are essential for understanding the computational processes that underlie associative learning and memory. The baso-lateral amygdala (BLA) is a limbic brain structure that has key roles in the learning, expression, and extinction of conditioned fear. Single cell recordings in the BLA have shown that after fear conditioning, a subset of neurons exhibit potentiated responses to the conditioned stimulus (CS). However, how the BLA represents the CS and the unconditioned stimulus (US) at the level of ensemble coding, and how the ensemble representations encode the CS-US association over the long-term remain poorly understood. Here, we used miniaturized Ca2+ imaging techniques and conducted time-lapse recordings of BLA neural activity across large ensembles of cells to provide the first look of how a long-term associative memory is encoded at a network level.