Neuronal implementations of relational learning and inference

 

We form memory not only to remember the past but also to predict the future. The latter process critically depends on the ability to learn structured relationships among events and make robust inferences that go beyond one’s experiences. The long-term goal of my research program is to understand how the brain forms and stabilizes memories of event relations and later transforms them to infer adaptive behaviour in a new situation. To this end, our lab uses a wide array of methods, including behavioural, neurophysiological, imaging, genetic, and pharmacological techniques in rodents. Through these investigations, my team seeks to translate descriptive accounts of relational learning and inference into tangible biological processes in the brain. Such insight will lead to new ways of thinking for resolving intellectual handicaps, such as those found in intellectual disability, Alzheimer’s disease, and aging, as well as cognitive enhancement for people who would not be classified as disabled.