Undergraduate students Fjolla Muqolli and Chris Sahagian, working under the supervision of Project Scientist Dr. Soyun Kim, were each appointed UROP Fellows for 2016-2017 and received $500 awards from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) for their project proposals. They will be presenting their work in poster presentation symposium later this Spring. A brief description of their work follows:
Multisensory Object Processing in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease
Fjolla Muqolli's project utilizes a miniature fluorescence microscope to collect functional images of neurons from naive and transgenic mouse brain regions during an object recognition (memory recall) task. This task includes the animal choosing the correct path to receive a reward in a configurable Y-maze after having been presented with a novel object to explore in both tactile and visual paradigms, separately and together (cross-modal). It is expected the transgenics, having a phenotype mimicking late-stage Alzheimer's disease, will perform poorly on cross-modal tasks and display attenuated perirhinal cortex activity versus spontaneous object recognition.
Neocortical Stimulation and classical eye-blink conditioning: A Study of the Memory Index Theory
Chris Sahagian's project consists of training a transgenic mouse to perform a walking task in a virtual reality environment (simulated through use of touchpad displays) during a classical conditioning paradigm. During the task, select neurons are stimulated in the animal's brain using a specific wavelength of light, and behavior changes are observed.
These awards will be used in support of the Miniscope project the McNaughton is working on using the open-source UCLA-developed Miniscope (www.miniscope.org). Congratulations to our hard-working undergraduate researchers!