The Boehringer Ingelheim FENS Research Award 2018 has been awarded to Dr. David Dupret for his research on the dynamics of neuronal assemblies during memory processes.
David Dupret is leading a research programme at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Brain Network Dynamics Unit in the University of Oxford. His research is designed to reveal how populations of neurons underpin internal representations of the world and to identify the mechanisms by which such representations persist in memory. To do so, his group combines in vivo multi-channel recordings with optogenetic techniques to monitor and manipulate neuronal activity during memory-guided behaviour.
David’s work has provided several original insights into the operations of hippocampal circuits. Early work was pivotal in showing that memory updating relates to the emergence of new hippocampal spatial representations that flicker with, and vie for dominance over previous representations. In follow-on work, David reported that this competition between new and old memories is orchestrated by the reorganisation of inhibitory circuits. The group then continued to break new ground by establishing that the consolidation of new memory representations requires their off-line reactivation during sharp-wave/ripple oscillatory events. Pioneering experiments further revealed that a hippocampal representation paired with the experience of a drug of abuse can be edited to alleviate the expression of a place-drug memory. The group’s current research is deciphering the inter-areal mechanisms supporting adaptive and multi-modal memories. In so doing, these projects probe interventions aimed at rebalancing brain dynamics by the targeted reprogramming of the cell assemblies holding dysfunctional memory representations.
David commented: “I am thrilled to be the recipient of the 2018 Boehringer Ingelheim FENS Research Award. This is an amazing recognition of my scientific contributions, and a great honour for myself and all lab members and mentors that I have had the privilege to work with”.
The award will be presented during the 11th Forum of European Neuroscience 2018 in Berlin where Dr Dupret will give the Boehringer-Ingelheim / FENS Research Award lecture.