The goal of the Han’s lab work is to understand how neuronal activity in a critical region of the brain, the hippocampus, leads to learning. While it is known that a functioning hippocampus is required for several types of learning and memory, it remains unclear how activity in the hippocampus leads to learning.
To investigate this question, the lab monitors network activity from awake, behaving animals learning a spatial navigation task in virtual reality. Using two-photon calcium imaging in these animals, we can simultaneously measure the activity of hundreds of neurons at the cellular scale with high spatio-temporal resolution. Alternatively, or in combination with imaging, the lab uses in vivo electophysiology to measure the spiking behavior of neurons, as well as oscillations in the local field potential of learning animals.
Applying these tools will allow the lab to test relationship between hippocampal activity and learning at the cellular, network, and behavioral levels. Furthermore using the results of these studies, we hope to manipulate network activity to enhance or restore hippocampal function, which is impaired in several neurological and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Arriaga M, Han EB. Structured inhibitory activity dynamics in new virtual environments. Elife. 2019 Oct 8;8. pii: e47611. doi: 10.7554/eLife.47611. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 31591960.
- Arriaga M, Han EB. Dedicated Hippocampal Inhibitory Networks for Locomotion and Immobility. J Neurosci. 2017 Sep 20;37(38):9222-9238. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1076-17.2017. Epub 2017 Aug 21. PMID: 28842418
- Han EB, Heinemann SF. Distal dendritic inputs control neuronal activity by heterosynaptic potentiation of proximal inputs. J Neurosci. 2013 Jan 23;33(4):1314-25.
- Han EB, Stevens CF. Development regulates a switch between post- and presynaptic strengthening in response to activity deprivation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 30;106(26):10817-22.
- Kerjan G, Koizumi H, Han EB, Dub CM, Djakovic SN, Patrick GN, Baram TZ, Heinemann SF, Gleeson JG. Mice lacking doublecortin and doublecortin-like kinase 2 display altered hippocampal neuronal maturation and spontaneous seizures. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Apr 21;106(16):6766-71.
See a complete list of Dr. Han’s publications on PubMed.
BA, Neurobiology and Classics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
PhD, Neuroscience, University of California, San Diego, CA
2005, 2008, 2014 Distinguished Teaching Service Award
2007 McKnight Technological Innovation in Neuroscience Award
2009 St. Louis Academy of Sciences Innovation Award
2009 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award
2009 Society for Neuroscience Research Award for Innovation in Neuroscience (RAIN)