Steve Ramirez, Ph.D.


Steve Ramirez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Psychological and Brain Sciences
Boston University
610 Commonwealth Ave.
City, State, ZIP
Boston, MA 02215
[email protected]
Research field
Award year


The Ramirez lab will investigate whether artificially activating cells that encode memories can alter the course of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Memory loss is the signature symptom of AD. But what if changes in the brain regions involved in memory were not merely a consequence of the disorder but were also part of its cause? I have found that, in mice, brain cells that are active during the formation of unpleasant memories can induce elevated levels of many markers linked to AD, including tau, the protein associated with the abnormal plaques that accumulate in AD. At the same time, I found that memory cells activated during positive experiences produce molecular and behavioral factors that are neuroprotective. Now, using advanced techniques in cellular and molecular genetics, coupled with cutting-edge methods for tracking and manipulating the activity of neurons in mice, my lab will identify cells that were activated by either a negative experience or a positive experience and assess whether repeated stimulation of these cells can exacerbate or alleviate the molecular and behavioral signs of AD in mice. This work will reinforce our understanding of the biological underpinnings of memory and could lead to novel treatment strategies for AD and other forms of dementia.


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