Lab: Location and affiliations
Our lab is located at the Hospital for Sick Children (also known as SickKids) in Toronto. SickKids is a leading pediatric hospital in North America. At SickKids, our lab is a member of the Neurosciences & Mental Health program within the Research Institute. SickKids is located in downtown Toronto, and is one of several Toronto hospitals affiliated with The University of Toronto. At the University, our lab is associated with the Department of Psychology, Department of Physiology and the Institute of Medical Sciences.
Lab: Our work
Our research is focused on understanding on how our brains encode, store and maintain memories, with an emphasis on two research questions. First, while the initial encoding and storage of memories depends critically on the hippocampus, as memories mature they may become independent of the hippocampus and more dependent on the cortex. Our studies have examined the role of CaMKII in this memory reorganization process, and used brain mapping and inactivation approaches to identify regions of the cortex that play key roles in remote memory. Second, new neurons are continuously generated throughout adulthood in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Our recent work has used transgenic, immunhistochemical and behavioral approaches to examine how these new neurons contribute to hippocampal memory formation.
Lab: A short history
The lab was formed in 2003. We bought a water maze and some pipettes, and by the summer of 2004 we were ready to begin experiments. Toni de Cristofaro, our lab manager, was the first to join (and unpack the boxes), and soon after graduate students Catia Teixeira, Hoi Ki Ding and Henry Fung arrived. Our initial work focused on remote memory but when postdoc Nohjin Kee joined in 2005 we also became interested in the role of adult neurogenesis in hippocampal memory. Over the last few years our group has continued to grow and currently there are 3 graduate students, 7 postdocs and 3 technicians. During this period we have continued our work on our two main projects (remote memory organization, adult neurogenesis), but also broadened our interests to examine the impact of early life experiences on brain development and cognition.