PROJECT 1 - DETERMINING THE NEUROCHEMICAL MECHANISMS OF MEMORY UPDATING
How do old, well-established memories become updated in the brain? And under what conditions? We are addressing this question using both behavioural and neuropharmacological approaches.
PROJECT 2 - CLARIFYING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RECONSOLIDATION, EXTINCTION, AND RETRIEVAL-EXTINCTION
Re-exposure to a cue can lead to reconsolidation or extinction, depending on the extent of re-exposure. But what governs the transition between these memory processes? And what happens when cognitive interference techniques, such as retrieval-extinction, are used to disrupt memories? Using behavioural and molecular approaches, we aim to determine the mechanisms underlying reconsolidation, extinction and retrieval-extinction.
PROJECT 3 - DETERMINING THE FEASIBILITY OF DISRUPTING HABITUAL MEMORY RECONSOLIDATION
Stimulus-response habits contribute to many mental health disorders, including drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). While the disruption of pavlovian memories has been extensively studied, comparatively little is known about the reconsolidation of instrumental (including habit) memories. We are investigating the parameters under which instrumental memories become unstable and susceptible to disruption.
PROJECT 4 - IDENTIFYING TARGETS FOR MEMORY DISRUPTION IN A MODEL OF DYSFUNCTIONAL CHECKING IN OCD
A common, but distressing, behaviour in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is compulsive checking. Using a behavioural task in rodents that promotes excessive and dysfunctional checking behaviour, we are investigating the psychological processes that underlie checking. By characterising the relative contributions of pavlovian and instrumental memories to this behaviour, we hope to identify targets for memory disruption in future studies.
PROJECT 5 - TRANSLATING OUR RESEARCH TO HUMANS
One of the ultimate goals of our research is to develop new treatments for mental health disorders. Through our collaborations with other research groups (e.g. Emily Holmes' group) we aim to translate our research to experimental medicine and ultimately patient studies.