In this ever-changing and unpredictable world, your brain is unrivalled at handling situations that you haven’t encountered before. But to do this it needs to make guesses and predictions based on your life’s experiences – your memories. So memory systems need to be reliable, efficient and nimble. We are working to find out how our brains can so cleverly integrate new information with existing knowledge, how this might be improved biologically, and what happens when it goes wrong in brain disorders.
Bristol Neuroscience’s memory researchers are tackling big questions such as:
- What are the biological building blocks of memories?
- How does the brain decide what to learn?
- What differentiates memory in the brain from that of a computer?
- How do stress, emotion and sleep affect memory from birth to old age?
- What aspects of mental health and cognitive dysfunction directly result from impaired learning?
Together we are answering these questions by piecing together the jigsaws of memory, from molecular and synaptic plasticity to the psychology of social behaviour.
We apply our discoveries in basic science to real-world issues, including:
- How can we best help people with dementia?
- What are the best interventions to enhance and support learning in typical development and in developmental disorders such as Autism.
- How can we protect memory from false and misleading information?
- What approaches would make eyewitness memory more reliable?
- Can we enhance adaptability and mental resilience in an increasingly unpredictable world?
Memory Hub Steering Group:
- Prof Jack Mellor (Hub lead; Professor in Neuroscience, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience)
- Dr Liz Coulthard (Associate Professor in Dementia Neurology, Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences)
- Elliott Hibbs (PhD student, Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences, Early Career representative)
- Prof Laura Mickes (Professor, School of Psychological Science)
- Dr Jacqui Oakley (Research Development Manager, Faculty of Life Sciences)
- Dr Cian O’Donnell (Lecturer in Computer Science, School of Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Engineering Mathematics, Faculty of Engineering)
- Dr Lindsey Sinclair (Clinical Research Fellow, Bristol Medical School: Population Health Sciences)