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Research Group
Cognition and social interactions
Unit Unit Cellular and Systems Neurobiology »

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Principal Investigator Ph.D. Investigator Master Students Technician Administration
Research Fields
Research interests: Our research focuses on determining cellular- and circuit-based mechanisms by which higher-order brain regions such as the hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex relay cognitive information to the hypothalamus in order to modulate innate motivated behaviors (sociability, aggression, mating). As alterations in higher brain regions contribute to neuropsychiatric diseases associated with disordered social behaviors, insight into both the normal and abnormal functions of these circuits is of critical importance. In addition, I am investigating how neuronal plasticity rules, mostly described ex vivo in brain slices, can support learning-related behaviors in vivo.

Techniques: immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, viral tracing of neural circuits, patch-clamp in acute slices with optogenetic, fiber-photometry, miniature endoscopes, opto- and chemogenetic in freely behaving animals. Behavioral assays of social interactions.

Representative Publications

Oliva A , Fernández-Ruiz A, Leroy F, Siegelbaum SA. " Hippocampal CA2 sharp-wave ripples reactivate and promote social memory. " Nature . doi , 10.1038/s41586-020-2758-y - ( 2020 ) *This article shows that sharp-wave ripples originating from the hippocampal CA2 area are essential to promote social memory formation and reactivation.

Asok A , Leroy F, Rayman J and Kandel ER " Molecular Mechanisms of the Memory Trace. " Trends in Neuroscience . 42(1) , 14 - 22 ( 2019 ) *This already highly cited review delves into our current understanding of the mechanisms supporting the formation of memory trace in the hippocampus. It also highlights the most critical questions that need to be answered in order to move the field forward.

Leroy F , Park J, Asok A, Brann DH, Meira T, Boyle LM, Buss EW, Kandel ER and Siegelbaum SA. " A circuit from hippocampal CA2 to lateral septum disinhibits social aggression. " Nature . 564(7735) , 213 - 218 ( 2018 ) *This article shows how CA2 promotes social aggression through a new projection to the hypothalamus.

Meira T , Leroy F, Buss EW, Park J and Siegelbaum SA " A hippocampal circuit linking dorsal CA2 to ventral CA1 critical for social memory dynamics. " Nature Communication . 91 , 4163 - ( 2018 ) *This article describes a new CA2 projection to ventral CA1 that is necessary for social memory. It also shows that CA2 is necessary for encoding and recall of social memory.

Leroy F , Brann DH, Meira T and Siegelbaum SA. " Input-timing dependent plasticity in the hippocampal CA2 region and its potential role in social memory. " Neuron . 95(5) , 1089 - 1102 ( 2017 ) *This article describes a new form of plasticity in hippocampal CA2 that supports social memory. Until then, the importance of CA2 in social memory formation, a form of episodic memory, had been overshadowed by the fact that CA2 did not exhibit any classical form of plasticity.
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Universidad Miguel Hernández

Campus de San Juan | Sant Joan d’Alacant
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