Scott Waddell

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Institute:
Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, University of Oxford

Website:
https://www.dpag.ox.ac.uk/research/waddell-group

Session:
Plasticity, Learning, and Memory

Title of talk:
Neural mechanisms of memory re-evaluation

Research

Scott Waddell is a Professor of Neurobiology and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow in Basic Biomedical Sciences at the University of Oxford, where he is Vice-Director of the Centre for Neural Circuits & Behaviour. Scott is an elected member of EMBO and was the 2014 recipient of the Liliane Bettencourt Prize in Life Sciences.

Scott’s research pursues one of the great challenges in neuroscience – to understand how molecular processes code experience within the neural networks of the brain, and how these circuits operate to ensure that memories are retrieved at the right time to guide appropriate behaviour. His research has generated a cellular resolution view of memory formation, consolidation and retrieval by combining genetic, molecular biology, two-photon microscopy and behavioural approaches in the relatively small brain of the fruit fly. Much of the work has converged on discrete groups of dopaminergic neurons that innervate the brain structure called the mushroom bodies. Different combinations of these dopaminergic neurons write sweet and nutritious sugar or water memories, and provide hunger state-dependent control of the expression of food-seeking memory. In addition, recent work has shown that these networks also allow the fly to re-evaluate memory at the time of retrieval. The Waddell group also investigates transposition in the brain and whether it contributes to neural function.