Lunch @UCSF with Loren Frank – The brain’s own GPS

Lunch @UCSF with Loren Frank – The brain’s own GPS

Lunch @UCSF with Loren Frank – The brain’s own GPS


Learning – using experience to guide behavior – is one of the brain’s most remarkable abilities. The goal of Loren Frank’s lab is to understand how activity and plasticity in neural circuits underlie both learning and the ability to use learned information to make decisions. In particular, his laboratory focuses on the circuitry of the hippocampus and anatomically related regions. Frank uses a combination of techniques, including large scale multi-electrode recording, real-time signal processing, and targeted optogenetic interventions and behavioral manipulations of awake, behaving animals to understand how the brain learns, remembers and decides.

Numerous researchers have shown that a human without a hippocampus is unable to form new memories of facts or events. In rodents these same structures play an essential role in animal’s abilities to learn about and remember complex associations, including tasks where the animal must learn and remember information about a set of spatial cues in order to navigate through an environment. Event/fact memory in humans and spatial memory in rodents both require learning complex relationships, and that parallel strongly suggests that qualitatively similar processing occurs in the human and the rat hippocampus.

At this lunch Frank will share how the hippocampus serves as “the brain’s GPS,” and how memory for places can illuminate functions of memory more generally.


Registration is required.