Allen Neurocircuitry & Cognition Lab | FIU

How do we remember our personal experiences? Our research is focused on understanding the neurobiological basis of episodic memory. To study this, we look at how hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex give rise to cognition and behavior using the latest genetic, anatomical, neurophysiological, optogenetic, chemogenetic and data science approaches.

We emphasize work that can integrate several levels of analysis from the cells and circuits to systems and behaviors. We focus on circuits connecting the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex, including through the nucleus reuniens of the thalamus and perirhinal cortex. Importantly, the connections between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex are abnormal in several mental health disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, developmental lead neurotoxicity, epilepsy, and ADHD), yet the exact nature of connectivity irregularities remains unclear.

The lab is unique by innovating cross-species neurobehavioral research platforms for episodic memory enabling rigorous foundational and translational neuroscience in this area. Along these lines we use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and tractography to link our findings from the rodent brain to the human brain, and contribute to the development of new transgenic animals for preclinical avenues (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease). Our goal with all this is to help understand the brain, and benefit medical diagnostics and therapeutics

The lab is proud to work with many colleagues at FIU including in the Training in Environmental Neuroscience Program (TENS), the Cognitive Neuroscience Program, the Center for Children and Families (CCF), the Department of Psychology, the Center for Imaging Science (CIS) and the Brain, Behavior and the Environment Program (BBE), and at other institutions such as the National Swine Resource and Research Center (NSRRC) at the University of Missouri.

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