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INSTITUTE OF PHYSIOLOGY CAS

Cutting-edge science for health

Integration of molecular, cellular and systems approaches in study of cognitive functions


We can take many approaches in search for neural substrate of cognitive functions and learning and memory, from inactivations of brain areas to e.g. immediate-early-gene imaging. Each of these techniques have different explanatory value and resolution; each points to a different level of understanding.

 

 

Our focus is to integrate molecular, cellular and systems levels in understanding the cognitive functions in mammals, mainly learning and memory, behavioral flexibility, working memory, recognition of position and other cognitive domains. The aim is to elucidate the mechanisms by which memories and other representations are formed and to search for treatments for resistant cognitive deficits in Alzheimer´s disease, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder etc. Beside multi-disciplinary studies on neurophysiological basis of learning, memory and behavior, we have also been developing unique spatial navigation tests focused on dynamic and flexible aspects of learning and memory, such as place avoidance on a rotating arena (Carousel), robot avoidance task or recognition of objects projected on a computer screen. Recently, have also got involved in investigations of interaction of spatial and temporal processing and design of new spatiotemporal tests for rats. We also examine neurological and neurobiological substrate of these processes with the ultimate aim to elucidate basis of learning and memory in animals as a model of higher human nervous functions in humans.