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U of T Where You Are: Making Memories in Mice

Join U of T alumni and friends for an intriguing lecture by Professor Sheena Josselyn

Understanding how the brain uses information is a fundamental goal of neuroscience. Several human disorders, ranging from autism spectrum disorder to PTSD to Alzheimer’s disease, may stem from disrupted information processing. Therefore, this basic knowledge is not only critical for understanding normal brain function, but also vital for the development of new treatment strategies for these disorders.

Memory may be defined as the retention over time of internal representations gained through experience, and the capacity to reconstruct these representations at later times. Long-lasting physical brain changes (‘engrams’) are thought to encode these internal representations. The concept of a physical memory trace likely originated in ancient Greece, although it wasn’t until 1904 that Richard Semon first coined the term ‘engram’. Despite its long history, finding a specific engram has been challenging, likely because an engram is encoded at multiple levels (epigenetic, synaptic, cell assembly). 

Sheena Josselyn is interested in understanding how specific neurons are recruited or allocated to an engram, and how neuronal membership in an engram may change over time or with new experience. In this lecture, Sheena will describe the efforts to understand memories in mice in the hopes of understanding memory in people. 

Please contact Alumni Relations, if you require information in an alternate format, or if any other arrangements can make this event accessible to you.


Sheena Josselyn Headshot

Dr. Sheena Josselyn is a Senior Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and a Professor in the departments of Psychology and Physiology at the University of Toronto in Canada.  She holds a Canada Research Chair in Brain Mechanisms underlying Memory, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Life Sciences and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology were granted by Queen’s University in Kingston (Canada).  Sheena received a PhD in Neuroscience/Psychology from the University of Toronto with Dr. Franco Vaccarino as her supervisor.  She conducted post-doctoral work with Dr. Mike Davis (Yale University) and Dr. Alcino Silva (UCLA).

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