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I have started a collaboration with NERF and will spend part of my time there. NERF is  a new neuroscience center that is based in Leuven (Belgium), a collaboration of IMEC, VIB, and KU Leuven.

As a visiting scientist at NERF, I will work at the development of a platform for directly manipulate the activity of ell assemblies, tightly coupled, information encoding cell groups during activity behavior and sleep, to see whether we can selectively “edit” memories in this way. This entails a novel combination of advanced neural activity monitoring, closed-loop patterned optogenetic stimulations, and computational techniques, developing ways to stimulate brain networks in a activity-driven fashion. If we understand how to manipulate the cell assemblies that support memory, then we could to manipulate memories themselves, e.g. triggering forgetting of a specific memory, or creating a new memory from scratch, by enforcing the appropriate activity configuration.

For this work, we need a combination of expertise ranging from neurobiology and molecular biology, to electronics, physics, and computer science, which we will establish through collaborations with the NERF community and through a new EU collaborative project (‘Enlightenment’), which will see NERF as its main home base.




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