Katherine Akers

  • Position: Post-doctoral fellow

  • Originally from: Independence, Missouri

  • Degree(s): BSc (Southwest Missouri State University), MSc (University of New Mexico), PhD (University of New Mexico)

  • Joined in: Summer 2008

  • Publications: Pubmed Search

Currently working on: I am examining the potential role of newborn hippocampal and olfactory bulb neurons in learning and memory, as well as and studying the developmental impact of fetal alcohol exposure on hippocampal and olfactory bulb neurogenesis.

Favorite paper: Aimone, JB, Wiles, J, and Gage, FH. (2006). Potential role for adult neurogenesis in the encoding of time in new memories. Nature Neuroscience, 9: 723-727. In this paper, Gage and colleagues present an interesting idea—that the participation of newborn hippocampal neurons in the formation of autobiographical memories serves to link together separate memories formed around the same period of time. In this manner, the incorporation of newborn neurons into a memory trace could place a timestamp on that memory.

Why science? If I weren’t a scientist, I would be… I went into research because I wanted to understand more about how the brain gives rise to thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. If I weren’t a scientist, I could see myself being an English literature professor or a veterinarian.

Interests outside the lab: Eating, drinking, sleeping, reading, listening to music.

Favorite place in Toronto: The Art Gallery of Ontario. I enjoy looking at modern and contemporary art and finding pieces that either evoke emotion or are simply pleasing to the eye, even though the meaning of the work is elusive or seemingly nonexistent. Perhaps as much as the art, I also enjoy the slow, quiet peacefulness that art galleries afford.