We are pleased to share recent work from the firs prize recipient of the Mightex Annual Research Award, 2021, Jayant Rai. Jay spoke with Mightex Applications Scientist Dr Catherine Thomas about his doctoral work investigating intracellular signalling pathways involved in hippocampus-dependent memory.

 

Jayant Rai

PhD Candidate, University of Toronto, Canada

Jay is a 4th year PhD student in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. He is co-supervised by Dr. Kenichi Okamoto and Dr. Mei Zhen. Jay recently received the first prize in our Mightex Annual Research Excellence Award for the research outlined above. We look forward to continuing to support Jay’s research in the future!

 


 

Memories that involve our personal experience of events, including what has happened as well as when and where these events occurred, is called episodic memory. Episodic memory relies upon interaction between a network of cortical regions that ultimately relies upon the intact functioning of the hippocampus (Davachi, 2006; Dickerson and Eichenbaum, 2010). Our understanding of the exact processing occurring in the hippocampus during encoding of memories is not fully elucidated. We know that changes in connection strengths between neurons, via synaptic structural plasticity processes such as long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), are crucial to the lasting formation of memories and influence future neuronal activity. The intracellular signalling pathways involved in LTP and LTD are complex and require further examination.

In order to expand our knowledge of the intra-cellular signalling pathways of hippocampal memory, Jay Rai at the University of Toronto has been conducting cellular resolution calcium imaging in awake freely moving mice, using the Mightex OASIS Implant system. Below (Video 1) you can see a video of a mouse undergoing an open field test and the corresponding activity of GCaMP6 in neurons of the CA1 region of the hippocampus. This experimental technique has allowed Jay to record calcium imaging and mouse behaviour data in the same animal. He is now working to examine changes in over time, recording cellular resolution calcium imaging data from the same mouse for up to 3 months. Lastly, Jay is looking to use the Mightex software analysis features to outline connections between his calcium imaging data and observed mouse behaviour (e.g., to identify patterns of neuronal activity during specific behaviours such as interacting with a novel object).

 

 

Video 1. Split screen video showing cellular resolution imaging with GCaMP6 in hippocampal CA1 neurons (left) and freely moving mouse in open field test.


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