June 01, 2011

Makings of a memory: Loren Frank

Loren Frank
The brain’s capacity to remember experiences to guide future decisions is an essential and fascinating ability. Our guest this month Loren Frank, an associate professor in the Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience at UCSF, is working to understand this process.

Dr. Frank studies how the hippocampus, a brain structure required for the formation of memories, mediates spatial learning in rats. Within the hippocampus exist place cells: neurons that are activated whenever an animal is in a specific location in its environment. His lab records the neuronal activity of place cells during formation and “replay” of memories while rats explore their environment. Disrupting the “replay” prevents the long term formation of memory. Later in our interview, Dr. Frank discusses his initial interest in astrophysics and how he became interested in a career in neuroscience.

More on the Frank Lab's research