Leicester neuroscience research hits front page of Scientific American

Posted by egg3 at Feb 28, 2013 08:00 AM |
World-leading research on memory formation carried out by Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga has been featured in a prestigious science magazine
Leicester neuroscience research hits front page of Scientific American

Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga

Groundbreaking new research on memory formation carried out by Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga is featured on the front page of this month’s Scientific American magazine.

The monthly popular science magazine carried a six-page cover story on Professor Quian Quiroga’s research into how small groups of brain cells are responsible for forming concepts of memory formation.

Professor Quian Quiroga, director of our Centre for Systems Neuroscience, has collaborated with Professor Itzhak Fried, of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Tel Aviv University, and Professor Christof Koch, of the California Institute of Technology and Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle.

Their recent experiments during brain surgeries have shown that small groups of brain cells are responsible for encoding memories of specific people or objects.

These neurons may also represent different variations of one thing – from the name of a person to their appearance from many different viewpoints.

The researchers believe that single concepts may be held in as little as thousands of neurons or less – a tiny fraction of the billion or so neurons contained in the medial temporal lobe, which is a memory related structure within the brain.

They have found that single neurons can “fire” to related people and objects – for instance, the neuron that responded to images of Luke Skywalker also fired to Yoda, another Jedi from Star Wars.

They argue that relatively small groups of neurons hold concept like Luke Skywalker and that related concepts such as Yoda are held by some but not all of the same neurons. 

The group believes this partially overlapping representation of related concepts are the neural underpinnings of encoding associations, a key memory function.

Share this page:

Navigation
Contact the Department

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester
LE1 7RH

T: +44 (0)116 252 2922
E: npbenquiries@le.ac.uk

Accessibility

AccessAble logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has detailed accessibility guides for the George Davies Centre, the Adrian Building and the Maurice Shock Medical Sciences Building.