Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases
Molecular Basis of Cognitive Function and Dysfunction
The ability to remember is perhaps the most significant and distinctive feature of our cognitive life. We are who we are in large part because of what we have learned and what we remember. Impairments in learning and memory are a component of disorders that affect human beings throughout life, from childhood forms of mental retardation to psychiatric disorders like Schizophrenia with onsets in late adolescence and early adulthood to diseases of aging such as Alzheimer's. My lab uses genetic manipulation in mice to investigate the molecular events that are involved in learning and memory. We choose this approach for the following reasons: 1) although many of the cognitive disorders in humans have a major genetic component, it has been difficult in many cases to determine the causative genes. 2) Of the genetically accessible experimental organisms, mice are the most similar to humans in both genetic makeup and brain structure so that insights gained in the mouse are likely to be applicable to humans. 3) Understanding the genes involved in a process can identify molecular targets that might be amenable to therapeutic intervention.
B.S., Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1983
Ph.D., Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989
Mayford, M., Kandel, E.R. Genetics Approaches to Memory Storage, TIGS 15, 11, 463-470, 1999.
Sandberg, R., Yasuda, R., Pankratz, D.G., Cater, T.A., Del Rio, J.A., Wodicka, L., Mayford, M., Lockhart, D.J., Barlow, C. Regional and strain-specific gene expression mapping in the adult mouse brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 97: 11038, 2000.
Wiedenmayer, C.P., Myers, M.M., Mayford, M., Barr, G.A. Olfactory based spatial learning in neonatal mice and its dependence on CaMKII. Neuroreport, 11:1051-1055, 2000.
Glazewski, S., Bejar, R., Mayford, M., Fox, K. The effect of autonomous alpha-CamKII expression on sensory responses and experience-dependent plasticity in mouse barrel cortex. Neuropharmacology, 41: 771-778, 2001.