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memory and its disorders

Our laboratory at UCLA is studying learning, memory and its disorders.

Our field of study is Molecular and Cellular Cognition. The goal of this field is to derive explanations of cognitive processes that integrate molecular, cellular, circuit and behavioral mechanisms and to find treatments for cognitive disorders. We are part of the UCLA Integrative Center for Learning and Memory.

  • We are searching for the molecular, cellular and circuit processes that underlie the encoding, allocation, storage and linking of information in the brain.
  • Recent studies have used state-of-the-art approaches such as optogenetics, circuit mapping, one and two-photon in vivo imaging to study the circuit mechanisms that integrate and link memories across time.
  • Insights into mechanisms of memory are being used to unravel the causes and develop treatments for cognitive deficits associated with aging, intellectual disabilities, and autism. Our studies in mice suggested that it is possible to reverse neurodevelopmental disorders, such as intellectual disabilities associated with mutations in NF1, TSC and DISC1, in adults.
  • Studies of the mechanisms underlying extraordinary cognitive function are being used to develop general treatments for cognitive disorders and to accelerate recovery after brain injury.
  • The Silva laboratory is also developing bioinformatic strategies to address the growing complexity of the literature, including the development of a set of algorithms and a free web app (researchmaps.org) to track causal information in biology.


  • New Scientific American Paper on Memory Linking!
  • New paper on researchmaps.org! (PDF)
  • New eLife paper on a new theory for causes and possible treatment for cognitive deficits associated with HIV infections (PDF)
  • New Cell Reports paper with the Poirazi lab on biological model of memory linking across time: linked memories are stored in clustered spines in overlapping neurons (PDF)
  • New PLOS ONE paper on using CREB, neuronal excitability and optogenetic tools to explore mechanisms for trapping and activating emotional memories(PDF); See write up about this paper
  • New Nature paper on circuit mechanisms that link memories across time and how aging disrupts these processes! (PDF)
  • New paper with clinical evidence that lovastatin may be effective in reversing some cognitive deficits in NF1 (PDF)
  • New NF1 paper showing structural components of social and spatial deļ¬cits (PDF)
  • Our Miniscope Wiki is finally ready! Check it out at miniscope.org!
  • New TSC review (PDF)
  • New Learning and Memory perspective on ResearchMaps! (PDF)
  • Current Biology Interview with Alcino Silva
  • New Book: Engineering the next revolution in neuroscience: the new science of experiment planning