DEPARTMENT OF NEUROBIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR
Ph.D. DISSERTATION DEFENSE
Dr. Guzowski’s Lab
Neuroimmune Modulation of Memory: From Genes and Neural Circuit Activity to Behavior
Monday, March 12th, 2018
Dale Melbourne Herklotz Conference Center, Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Peripheral immune activation can affect cognitive function, including memory. While prior studies have examined how immune stimulation affects neuronal function or performance in memory tasks, there is a lack of research directly linking molecular and neural circuit alterations to behavioral impairment. This dissertation investigates effects of acute immune challenge on memory with a systematic approach that connects molecular mechanisms, neural circuit activity, and behavior within a consistent rodent experimental model. During this seminar, I will describe specific memory deficits observed during acute neuroinflammation and accompanying alterations of neural circuit activity and gene expression patterns in the hippocampus. Bioinformatic analyses were performed to generate predictive models linking immune gene expression to changes in neural/synaptic gene expression, neural circuit activity, and memory performance. Collectively, this research provided novel insights into interactions between the immune and nervous systems that modulate neuronal circuit activity critical for hippocampus-dependent contextual memory function. Moreover, statistical modeling results identified key synaptic genes associated with memory impairment and circuit activity dysregulation during neuroinflammatory challenge. This work will facilitate future translational studies aimed towards developing therapies that ameliorate the negative impacts of inflammation on memory.