Gina Poe, Ph.D.

Research

The focus of our lab is to Investigate the mechanisms by which sleep traits serve learning and memory consolidation. We are interested in how disrupted sleep seen in IDD patients may impact learning and memory.

Research

The focus of our lab is to Investigate the mechanisms by which sleep traits serve learning and memory consolidation. We are interested in how disrupted sleep seen in IDD patients may impact learning and memory.

Appointments

Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology

Appointments

Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology

The Poe lab investigates the mechanisms by which sleep traits serve learning and memory consolidation. Memories are encoded by the pattern of synaptic connections between neurons. We employ tetrode recording and optogenetic techniques in learning animals to see how neural patterns underlying learning are reactivated during sleep, and how activity during sleep influences the neural memory code. Both strengthening and weakening of synapses is important to the process of sculpting a network when we make new memories and integrate them into old schema.

Results from our studies suggest that while synaptic strengthening can be efficiently accomplished during the waking learning process, the synaptic weakening part of memory integration requires conditions unique to sleep. The absence of noradrenaline during sleep spindles and REM sleep as well as the low levels of serotonin during REM sleep allow the brain to integrate new memories and to refresh and renew old synapses so that we are ready to build new associations the next waking period.

Memory difficulties involved in post-traumatic stress disorder, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and even autism involve abnormalities in the sleep-dependent memory consolidation process that my lab studies. Keywords: Sleep, learning and memory, PTSD, memory consolidation, reconsolidation, REM sleep, sleep spindles, Norepinephrine, LTP, depotentiation, reversal learning, optogenetics, electrophysiology, tetrode recordings, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex.

Publications

Jablonski Piotr , Poe Gina R., Zochowski Michal Structural network heterogeneities and network dynamics: a possible dynamical mechanism for hippocampal memory reactivation. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys 75 (2007) 011912
Bjorness Theresa E., Riley Brett T., Tysor Michael K., Poe Gina R. REM restriction persistently alters strategy used to solve a spatial task. Learn. Mem. 12 (2005) 352-9
Poe Gina R., Rector David M., Harper Ronald M. State-dependent columnar organization of dorsal hippocampal activity in the freely-behaving cat. Behav. Brain Res. 138 (2003) 107-12
Poe Gina R., Thompson Carena M., Riley Brett T., Tysor Michael K., Bjorness Theresa E., Steinhoff Brianna P., Ferluga Elizabeth D. A spatial memory task appropriate for electrophysiological recordings. J. Neurosci. Methods 121 (2002) 65-74

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