MAR 11, 2020 1:30 PM PDT

PANEL: The Neuronal Mechanisms of Human Episodic Memory: a Multidisciplinary Consortium Utilizing Human Single-Neuron Recordings

Presented at: Neuroscience 2020
C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
  • Professor of Neurosurgery, Director of Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery and Co-director of the Pituitary Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
      Dr. Adam Mamelak is Professor of Neurosurgery, Director of Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery and Co-director of the Pituitary Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Mamelak earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics at Tufts University and a medical degree at Harvard Medical School. He completed residency in neurological surgery at the University of California at San Francisco and a research fellowship at the California Institute of Technology and Huntington Medical Research Institutes. He was former section head of Neurological Surgery at City of Hope Cancer Center and has been at Cedars-Sinai since 2005. An active researcher, his most significant investigations involve recording and analysis of single unit activity in epilepsy patients undergoing depth electrode monitoring to localize seizures with the goal of better understating the mechanisms of learning and memory. In 1999, Dr. Mamelak was honored with the National Brain Tumor Foundation AANS/CNS Award for Best Translational Research by a Practicing Neurosurgeon. He is also the winner of the Young Investigator Award from the Research Foundation of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Junior Investigator Award from the American Epilepsy Society. He has significant grant support for his research from NIH for several of his research activities.
    • Board of Governors Chair in Neuroscience, Director, Human Neurophysiology Research, Associate Professor, Neurosurgery, Neurology & Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
        Ueli Rutishauser, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Board of Governors Chair in Neurosciences in the Department of Neurosurgery, with joint appointments in the Departments of Neurology, Biomedical Sciences, and the Center for Neural Science and Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Concurrently, he holds a joint visiting faculty appointment at the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.

        Dr. Rutishauser studied computer science for his BS, and then received his PhD in Computation & Neural Systems from Caltech. After postdoctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, he started his own lab in 2012. He received the Amercian Epilepsy Society Young Investigator Award (2007), the Ferguson Award (2008), the Troland Award by the National Academy of Sciences (2014), the Prize for Research in Scientific Medicine (2017), and the Freedman Prize for Exceptional Basic Research (2018). In 2014, he was named a Next Generation Leader by the Allen Institute for Brain Science and in 2018 he became an elected member of the Memory Disorders Research Society. He co-edited the textbook "Single neuron studies of the human brain" by MIT press and is one of the principal organizers of the Human Single Neuron meeting. His work has been published in a variety of journals, including Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, PNAS, Current Biology, PLOS Computational Biology, and Neural Computation.

        The Rutishauser laboratory is investigating the neural mechanisms of learning, memory and decision-making at the level of single neurons in humans. We are a systems neuroscience laboratory and use a combination of in vivo single-unit electrophysiology in humans, intracranial electrocorticography, eye tracking, behavior, and computational and theoretical approaches. We have helped pioneer the technique of human single-neuron recordings and continue to advance the tools, methods and surgical techniques that allow such experiments.
      • Professor at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital and leads the Executive Function/Memory module in the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines
          Gabriel Kreiman is a Professor at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital and leads the Executive Function/Memory module in the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Caltech and was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT. He received several awards including the NIH new innovator award and the NSF Career award. His research group combines computational models, behavioral measurements and neurophysiological recordings to develop AI systems constrained and inspired by neural circuits.
        • Research Fellow at Boston Children's Hospital
            Jie Zheng is a research fellow at Boston Children's Hospital. She received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine and her BS from Nanjing University in EE. Currently she is performing her postdoctoral work with Dr. Gabriel Kreiman from Harvard University and Dr. Ueli Rutishauser from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Zheng's PhD research focused on understanding the neural mechanisms of episodic memory in humans using intracranial recordings of local field potentials. During her postdoctoral training, she is continuing this line of research by incorporating both human single neuron recordings and computational modeling to study episodic memory.


          Episodic memories are essential for human cognition, but the underlying neural mechanisms remain poorly understood. We utilize the opportunity to record in-vivo from human single neurons simultaneously in multiple brain areas in patients undergoing treatment for drug resistant epilepsy to study the underlying mechanisms. Supported by the BRAIN initiative, we formed a consortium among four institutions (Cedars-Sinai/Caltech, Johns Hopkins, U Toronto, and Children’s/Harvard) to maximize the use of these rare and precious opportunities to further our understanding of human memory. In this panel talk, we will highlight different aspects of our work that has become possible due to this highly interdisciplinary group of experimental and computational scientists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and ethics experts.

          We are developing a circuit-level understanding of human memory by utilizing invasive in-vivo recordings together with behavior, focal electrical stimulation, and computational modeling. We are investigating a putative circuit for human recognition memory that is composed of specific functional types of cells in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) and the medial frontal cortex (MFC). In the MTL, we are investigating the role of visually selective and memory selective cells, whereas in the MFC we are studying memory-choice cells that represent a putative readout of memories to support memory-based recognition and confidence decisions. Together, these results begin to provide a circuit-level understanding of human memory at a level of detail that is needed for the development of new treatments for memory disorders.

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