Postgraduate Research Project
Title: Keeping the balance – importance of balanced hippocampo-prefrontal neural activity for attention and memory
Area: Behavioural Neuroscience
This project is an iCASE BBSRC Studentship in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim.
The Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex are critical in memory and attention. Imbalanced neural activity in these areas, due to neural disinhibition, has been linked to cognitive deficits relevant to ageing and neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Previous work in our team combining local microinfusions of a GABA antagonist with in vivo electrophysiology and behavioural testing in rats, showed that prefrontal cortex and hippocampal neural disinhibition causes aberrant neuron firing in the disinhibited area, as well as attentional and memory deficits (Pezze et al., 2014, J Neurosci; McGarrity et al., 2016, Cereb Cortex.).
During this project we will utilise these established methods to examine pharmacological methods to rebalance the induced aberrant hippocampo-prefrontal neural activity, and to restore and sustain cognitive function. Furthermore, the neurochemical pathways and neural-network mechanisms mediating the cognitive impact of hippocampo-prefrontal neural disinhibition shall be examined using in vivo microdialysis and telemetric EEG, during a placement with Boehringer Ingelheim.