Sheena Josselyn, PhD
Neurosciences & Mental Health
University of Toronto
Department of Physiology
Canada Research Chair
Molecular and Cellular Cognition
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 1824
- molecular and cellular neuroscience
- learning and memory
- transcription factors
- mouse models of cognitive disorders
The research in my laboratory is dedicated to understanding the neural basis of cognitive function and dysfunction. To unravel the molecular, cellular and circuit processes that underlie learning and memory we employ a multidisciplinary approach including the use of transgenic mice, gene deletion 'knockout' mutants, and 'knock in' mutants which carry a specific point mutation, biochemistry, pharmacology, neuroanatomical lesions and detailed behavioral analysis. The guiding rationale behind this work is the finding that long-term memory (LTM) involves structural re-modeling of synaptic connections and consequently, requires gene expression and de novo protein synthesis.
Our lab focuses on the transcription factors that regulate the protein synthesis necessary for LTM formation. The second broad theme of our research examines the pathogenesis of human cognitive disorders. By building on the findings from our basic research theme to the study of cognitive dysfunction in humans, we hope to develop new therapeutic targets and treatment strategies.
My research program examines whether disruptions of intracellular pathways linked to transcription factors may contribute to human cognitive impairments and whether these transcription factors my ultimately serve as therapeutic targets in the treatments of these disorders.
Future Research Interests
Roughly 30 million North Americans suffer some type of learning or memory disorder. Many of these disorders have no cure and few effective treatments. New approaches to the treatment of learning and memory impairments may benefit greatly by building on basic research studying normal memory formation.
My research aims are two-fold; 1) to examine the neural substrates of memory and 2) to apply these basic findings to study potential treatments for people with learning and memory disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and inherited forms of mental retardation.