Professor awarded prestigious Royal Society fellowship for memory research
Press release issued: 9 August 2013
An expert in cellular mechanisms of memory at the University of Bristol has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society fellowship.
Zafar Bashir, Professor of Cellular Neuroscience at the University, is one of only a handful of scientists from across the UK to have been awarded the Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship.
The fellowship will allow Professor Bashir to understand how different brain regions work together to produce learning that is essential for everyday life and how its decline advances in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Recognition memory, such as object-in-place memory is essential for our normal daily lives. Such memory allows us to remember, for example, where in the house we left our keys or where in the car park we left the car. Decline of such memories can be devastating, as occurs in dementias, including in Alzheimer’s.
We know that recognition memory relies on different interconnected brain regions including hippocampus, perirhinal cortex and prefrontal cortex. However, we have little understanding of how these different regions work together in recognition memory. Synaptic transmission and especially changes in synaptic strength are considered to be key mechanisms of learning and memory. Therefore, knowing how synapses between these different regions operate and change in memory will provide insights into the mechanisms that underpin recognition memory.
Recent developments mean that we are now in a position to use a combination of new methods that will allow us to investigate selectively the properties of each of the specific connections between the different regions that make up the circuit for object-in-place memory.
Professor Bashir, who is based in the University’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology, said: “I am honoured to have been awarded this fellowship that will provide me with the opportunity to make significant progress towards answering these fundamental questions into how the complex mechanisms in our brain work together to form memories.”
Professor Bashir will take up the one-year fellowship on the 1 October 2013.