Aplysia and Learning
Professor Eric Kandel discusses the attributes that make Aplysia, a type of sea slug, an ideal model for studying learning and memory.
I went to Aplysia because I thought it would be a very good model for learning for three reasons. One is, it has a nervous system made up of relatively few cells. Your brain has a million, million nerve cells, Aplysia has twenty thousand nerve cells, number one. Number two, these cells are collected in clusters called ganglia; there are ten of them. Each one has about two hundred nerve cells. Three, the cells are the largest nerve cells in the animal kingdom. You can see them with your naked eye. And they are not only large, they are distinctive, so you can recognize each cell as an individual and return to different cells in every animal of the species, and those prove to be extremely good advantages for studying any behavior and seeing how behavior is modified by learning and memory.
Aplysia, nerve, cell, learning, memory, nervous system, brain, neuron, model, system, organism, species, eric kandel,
Professor Eric Kandel describes how he came to study the model organism Aplysia, which would later earn him a Nobel prize.
Professor Jeff Lichtman introduces the concept of synaptic competition, the process whereby nerve cells compete for space in the brain - much like protozoa in a very weird pond.
Professor Eric Kandel discusses changes in synapse structure during long-term memory. Research indicates these changes are synapse-specific and not neuron-wide.
Professor Jeff Lichtman describes the process by which our nerve cells compete, which ultimately gives rise to our ability to learn and interact with the environment.
Professor Eric Kandel explains how that as you view this interview - the structure of your brain is changing.
Professor Seth Grant outlines one way in which the Genes to Cognition Research Programme uses model organisms to study learning and memory in humans.
New neurons in the hippocampus may remember the timing of events.
Students work through a series of experiments that investigate the use of model organisms in the search for a better understanding of the genes that influence memory formation.
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.
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.