Genes to Cognition Research
Professor Seth Grant explains that the Genes to Cognition research program is investigating the network of proteins that are important to learning.
The Genes to Cognition program was conceived having made two basic discoveries in neuroscience. One was that, using genetic experiments, proteins assembled with neurotransmitter receptors are very important for the behavior and physiology of mice. And the second was that these sets of proteins comprise not just two or three, but many dozens of proteins and some of those are important in human mental conditions. So, we decided that we needed to study all of these proteins systematically in mice and in humans, in health and disease. Therefore, to do this, we needed to bring together a set of collaborators in a consortium, originally built in the United Kingdom, in Edinburgh University where I was working at the time, and more recently at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, which are two major centers. There are a number of other centers in the UK that bring together clinicians and basic scientists that cover all of the areas of research and all of us are focused on studying those molecules in health and disease.
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Professor Seth Grant highlights PSD95 as an important example of a protein associated with a neurotransmitter receptor that affects learning.
In studies of PSD95, Professor Seth Grant's group showed that memories are formed when neurotransmitter receptors associate with proteins.
Students will experiment with an interactive animation to compare mutant and wild-type mice in a water maze. They will analyze data and discuss findings of a research paper.
Genes to Cognition researchers discover a genetic basis for higher mental functions that provides new insights into autism and learning disability.
Learning and memory are two intimately linked cognitive processes that stem from interactions with the environment (experience).
Professor Seth Grant explains that taking cocaine reduces the expression of the PSD95 protein, which can lead to memory impairments.
Cognitive information is encoded in patterns of nervous activity and decoded by molecular listening devices at the synapse. Professor Seth Grant explains how different patterns of neural firing are critical to cognition.
Professor Seth Grant explains that NMDA receptors are important to forming memories - if we block NMDA receptors, we can block learning.
Professor Seth Grant outlines one way in which the Genes to Cognition Research Programme uses model organisms to study learning and memory in humans.
Professor Seth Grant explains that long-term memories are created when the synapse sends a signal to the nucleus to activate certain genes.