Attila Losonczy, M.D., Ph.D.Assistant Professor, Neuroscience
Hammer Health Sciences Center, Room 510B
Tel +1 212-305-3041
Area of Research
Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, Synapses & Circuits
Synaptic and intrinsic mechanisms of information processing and storage in neural circuits
A fundamental capacity of the mammalian cerebral cortex is to process information in a form conducive to encoding, storage and retrieval of memories. A general organizational principle of cortical mnemonic circuits states that these steps all require a precisely orchestrated spatio-temporal interaction among a large number of relatively uniform excitatory and a numerically fewer but richly diverse population of inhibitory and neuromodulatory circuit elements. However, a mechanistic understanding of how these circuit motifs interact during elementary steps of memory processing is lacking. Our general hypothesis is that single neurons perform complex computations by exploiting their multilayered and compartmentalized dendritic arborization. Specifically, we hypothesize that, (1) neuronal dendritic arbor constitutes a backbone for both compartmentalized input integration and plasticity, and (2) dynamic interactions between synaptic and intrinsic forms of neuronal plasticity can expand neuron’s capability to detect, store and recall various features of information.
Makara JK, Losonczy A, Wen Q and Magee JC (2009) Experience-dependent compartmentalized dendritic plasticity in rat hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons (2009). Nature Neuroscience, 12: 1485-1487.