The Neuroengineering Laboratory @Rice
This website is outdated. The new lab website is: http://nel.rice.edu.
Forming, storing, and using memory requires the hippocampus. Problems in the hippocampal circuit can lead to memory problems (e.g., Alzheimer's, PTSD) and also more complex disorders such as depression and anxiety. We'd like to understand how the hippocampal circuit works at a systems-level in healthy brains, how it goes wrong, and what can be done to change how it functions.
We employ standard and cutting-edge techniques: simultaneously recording the activity of dozens of neurons in behaving rodents and manipulating genetically-selected populations of neurons using light ("optogenetics").
We are developing the real-time systems that will allow us to use information decoded from neural activity to manipulate the hippocampal circuit. Why is that useful? By detecting the ensemble neural activity underlying traces of individual memories in real-time, we hope to build systems that will, for example, allow us to selectively inhibit the recall or long-term storage of traumatic episodes.