Elise Cope, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience, was awarded a NIH R01 grant for $2.8 million to investigate the role of hippocampal structural plasticity to social memory circuits.
Severe social impairment is a hallmark of many neuropsychiatric illnesses. Deficits in social memory in particular can significantly compromise an individual’s ability to form and maintain social relationships, dramatically reducing quality of life. The hippocampus is essential for social memory and continuously generates new neurons into adulthood, contributing to ongoing structural plasticity. The proposed research will explore the impact of adult-born neurons and their connections to social memory circuits and determine whether targeting this circuitry can be used to improve social memory dysfunction in a mouse model for autism spectrum disorder. The outcome of these studies could reveal novel strategies for alleviating social memory deficits associated with neuropsychiatric illness.
Mark Beenhakker, PhD, in the Department of Pharmacology and Jaideep Kapur, MBBS, PhD, in the Department of Neurology are collaborators on this award.
Read more about Dr. Cope’s lab.