Prof. Dr. Magdalena Sauvage, Mercator Research Group, Department of Neurophysiology, Faculty of Medicine
Our aim is to identify the neural support of memory function by studying temporal, spatial and item recognition memory. We focus on determining the specific role of the subareas of the Medial Temporal Lobe, recently suggested to be functionally heterogeneous, which when damaged results in severe memory deficits as it is the case in agingand amnesia . Brain activity during memory tasks is evaluated in healthy subjects as well as in animal models of amnesia and aging with a particular interest on connected areas such as the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala (http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/fam/).
The originality of our approach is to use translational memory paradigms (standard human recognition memory tasks adapted to rodents), which allow to address major controversies that cannot be solved in human recognition memory. In addition, we use cutting-edge neuroanatomical imaging techniques, involving the detection of Immediate-Early-genes by in-situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry, to identify specifically the location of the neurons activated during recognition memory and to characterize the neurotransmitters involved in precise types of memory. Concurrently, we are developing cognitive fMRI paradigms for awake rodents with the aim of bridging further human and animal recognition memory function.
This multidisciplinary approach of memory function, which involves behavioral, lesion, molecular and imaging techniques as well as mutagenesis, combined to the philosophical, computational and electrophysiological approaches of the collaborating units of the MRG constitutes a unique interdisciplinary and interspecies approach of memory function (http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/mrg/memory/index.html).
- Characterization of the specific role of the MTL areas in spatial or non-spatial recognition memory depending on visual or olfactory sensory modalities (behavior, brain lesion and neuroanatomical brain imaging)
- Evaluation of memory performance and study of the reorganization of the MTL areas following brain injury in models of amnesia (behavior, brain lesion and neuroanatomical brain imaging)
- Characterization of memory performance and brain alterations in models of aging (behavior and neuroanatomical brain imaging)
- Development of behavioral translational memory paradigms and fMRI cognitive translational paradigms in awake rodents (behavior, stereotactic surgery, animal fMRI)
- Standard behavioral spatial and non-spatial object recognition paradigms in rats and mice
- Translational olfactory memory tasks based on psychophysics
- Use of mutant mice models
- Intracerebral injections, brain lesions with microglass pipettes
- Neuroanatomical imaging (in-situ hybridization, immunocytochemistry, histology)
- fMRI in rodents
- Stereotactic surgery