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Matthew Wilson speaks on the importance of sleep for how the brain processes memory
Register to participate in a webcast with Matt Wilson, Sherman Fairchild Professor of Neurobiology in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. In this interactive forum organized by the MIT Alumni Association, Wilson will share his research on sleep and its role in memory and answer questions from participants.
Research in the Wilson laboratory focuses on the manner in which memory representations in the brain are formed, maintained, and used during behavior. Researchers employ several distinct strategies for examining the neural basis of memory including electrophysiological, genetic, behavioral, and computational approaches. By introducing arrays of microelectrodes into hippocampal and neocortical areas of freely behaving rodents they have been able to examine the coordinated activity of ensembles of large numbers of individual cells and relate this ensemble activity to behavioral performance and memory. By examining subsequent changes in neural activity during sleep and quiet wakefulness they have begun elucidating the nature of memory processing and consolidation during these periods. Using computational methods to decode the ongoing patterns of neuronal ensemble activity, they can evaluate the content of memory as it replayed during sleep – effectively visualizing the content of dreams. Using real-time, closed-loop control methods, they can manipulate brain activity based on that decoded memory content, allowing them to test specific computational hypotheses of the role of sleep and dreams in cognitive function.
Moderator: Pam Belluck KF '08, Health and science writer, New York Times
Closed captioning will be available. An archive of this webcast will be made available on the MIT Alumni Association YouTube channel within a week of broadcast.