Michael A. Yassa

yassaI am interested in how the brain learns and retrieves information. In particular, I investigate long-term memory mechanisms and how these mechanisms are altered in aging and neuropsychiatric disease. Trained as a neurobiologist and experimental psychologist, I examine neural mechanisms of memory from a network perspective using advanced neuroimaging and neuropsychological techniques. The central questions in my research are: (1) What are the neural mechanisms that support learning and memory? (2) How are memory circuits and pathways altered in the course of aging, dementia, and neuropsychiatric disorders and how do these changes inform our understanding of memory function? and (3) How can we identify early preclinical biomarkers that can distinguish between normal and pathological age-related changes (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease) so that we can better design diagnostic and therapeutic tools. My lab also develops and refines neuroimaging tools to explore the brain’s architecture at very fine levels of detail, for example using high-resolution functional MRI or ultrahigh-resolution (sub-millimeter) diffusion imaging in both animals and humans.

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