David M. Smith
My research is focused on a neural systems level analysis of learning and memory processes in rodents. We record the activity of many individual neurons in behaving rats while they learn. This allows us to track the changes in neuronal responses that are associated with the acquisition and retrieval of learned information. We also use pharmacological agents, optogenetics and chemogenetics to temporarily inactivate discrete brain regions and circuits while recording neural responses in anatomically connected brain regions. This allows us to determine how different brain regions influence the rat's ability to learn and remember and we can also assess how each region contributes to information processing throughout the memory circuits of the brain.