Daniel Almeida-Filho, M.D., Ph.D.

Title
Postdoctoral fellow
Department
Department of Neurobiology
Institution
University of California, Los Angeles
Address
Gonda Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center
695 Charles Young Drive South
City, State, Zip
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Phone
310-794-6609
E-mail
almeidafilhodg@gmail.com
Website
http://www.silvalab.org
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
2019
Country Of Origin
Brazil
Mentor Name
Alcino J. Silva, Ph.D.

In the Silva lab, I will explore how navigational information is encoded in brain regions associated with spatial memory. Steering a course through the environment involves integrating internal and external relevant cues of space, time, and body position. These associations are then refined as an animal familiarizes itself with a particular environment. Ensembles of cells in the brain regions that handle spatial memory encode and consolidate this information by forming groups of neurons that act in synchrony called cell assemblies. This process is probably disrupted in disorders such as Noonan syndrome, a condition associated with memory deficits and cognitive impairment. Using techniques for monitoring the activity of complex neural circuits in mice—including a miniature fluorescent microscope that can be mounted on a mouse’s head—I will examine how the cell assemblies that encode spatial information are reorganized as an animal is trained to navigate different spatial environments, and determine how this reorganization is impaired in a mouse model of Noonan syndrome. I will then assess whether lovastatin, a drug that reverses the molecular and behavioral defect associated with Noonan syndrome in mice, can reset the animals’ ability to dynamically reorganize their neuronal synchronized activity in response to training and restore their spatial memory.

Search Pew Scholars