Project Title: The Price of Happiness: The Effect of Antidepressants on Memory Consolidation
BASIS Advisor: David Calhoun
Internship Location: Georgetown University: Department of Neuroscience
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Jian-Young Wu
We know that antidepressants affect mood, but how do they affect memory? We can explore the relation between the two by studying neuronal activities called Sharp-wave Ripples (SWRs), which play a critical role in the processes of memory consolidation. SWR activity occurs spontaneously in the hippocampus of all mammals and can be recorded/analyzed graphically. Changes in SWR occurrence and amplitude indicate an alteration in memory consolidation processes; for instance, SWRs appearing more frequently signifies a temporary enhancement in the processes of memory consolidation. This project analyzes the effect of different SSRI antidepressants on SWR occurrence by recording neuronal activity in rodent hippocampal slices. My research will be conducted at Georgetown University’s Department of Neuroscience, since it is one of few places with the necessary facilities and lab equipment to record neuronal oscillations. Through this project, I seek to elucidate any adverse physiological effects of antidepressant drugs and better understand the mechanisms of SWR formation within the hippocampus.