Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences

Amsterdam Brain and Cognition grant for Natalie Cappaert and Jaap Murre

18 March 2016

Natalie Cappaert and Jaap Murre (University of Amsterdam) have been awarded an Amsterdam Brain and Cognition (ABC) grant of over 250.000 euro for their project ‘A network approach to unravel the role of the amygdala in memory’. The grant will be used for a two-year postdoc and visiting professor Menno Witter (professor of Neuroscience at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for Neural Computation at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway).

Dr Natalie Cappaert  (Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences) and Prof. Jaap Murre (Brain & Cognition Group, Psychology Department) will extend their existing connectivity database with amygdala connections to serve as a basis for a computational model.

Memory

Learning and memory are cognitive functions that rely crucially on neural networks in the parahippocampal region (PHR) and hippocampal formation (HF). The amygdala modulates memory processes by gating information propagation from neocortex through PHR to HF, by its strong connections with the PHR and HF. This may explain why some memories are remembered with great vividness, whereas others are only vaguely remembered. Cappaert: ‘The mechanism by which the amygdala modulates PHR-HF network activity remains unclear. We will investigate this by using a computational model that mimics the known anatomical connectivity and simulates the dynamic modulation by rhythmic brain activity.’

Amsterdam Brain and Cognition centre

The Brain and Cognition research priority programme of the UvA, ABC, provides funding to promote innovative and excellent research in the area of brain and cognitive sciences. The aim is to promote interdisciplinary research and to provide opportunities for collaboration with outstanding (inter)national researchers. The Amsterdam Brain and Cognition centre serves as a platform and community for cognitive scientists interested in a wide range of Cognitive Science topics, ranging from perception to memory, decision-making, language and logic.

Published by  Swammerdam Institute