Itzel Gonzalez Ishida
Despite having a general sense of which cellular functions and molecules are important for memory, our insight into its precise physical substrates has been limited because we do not clearly understand how brains compute discrete variables. Spatial navigation systems are good models to address how memories are stored, because the variables relevant for navigation bear a clear relationship to physical space and are thus easier to parametrize than those related to motivational states. In this project, I aim to take advantage of the format of spatial signals in the Drosophila brain to show how a spatial memory might be stored within genetically- and anatomically-defined classes of neurons. Specifically, because sinusoidally-shaped profiles of activity describe the relationship between the fly and locations in space, I propose to test whether spatial memories are stored as sinusoidally-shaped molecular events within neurites in the central fly brain. The research proposed here has the potential to enable a new level of inquiry into one of the most concise model systems for the study of neural computation.