Charan Ranganath, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology, UC Davis Center for Neuroscience
The ability to remember is central to every aspect of the human experience. We use our memories to recall the past, to make decisions in the present, and to anticipate and plan for the future. Memory is significantly impaired in dementia, traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, leaving patients unable to work and sometimes unable to live independently. Moreover, memory declines even in healthy individuals over the course of aging. Given the increasing age of our population, it is imperative for scientists to gain a better understanding of how the brain supports the ability to learn and remember.
UC Davis is among the world’s foremost universities in the study of learning, memory, and neural plasticity. The UC Davis Memory and Plasticity (MAP) program is central hub for learning and memory research and education at UC Davis, stimulating interactions that bridge the gap between cellular, systems, and cognitive neuroscience, cognitive and developmental psychology, and psychiatry and neurology. Our shared goals are to shed light on the mechanisms of memory, in order to foster new innovations in education and technology, facilitate healthy brain aging, and devise new treatments for psychiatric and neurological diseases that affect memory. We will achieve these goals by:
Stimulating Innovative Research and Fostering Collaboration: Great ideas come from crossing boundaries and leveraging the complementary strengths of scientists from different disciplines. We are stimulating cross-cutting research collaborations that address tough questions with cross-cutting approaches that take advantage of the diverse range of scientists in the UC Davis MAP community.
Training the Next Generation of Memory Scientists: We are developing innovative approaches to train future leaders in the field. We are engaging undergraduates through an innovative program that gets students in the lab soon after arriving in college. Through training programs funded by the National Institutes of Health, we are training graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in concepts and research methods. Training at UC Davis spans every level of analysis, from molecules to minds, and from bench to bedside.
Outreach: The MAP community at UC Davis is making new discoveries that have major implications for the real world. To share our knowledge with the public, we host public talks and q&a sessions with our star scientists. We will also communicate our scientific advances via social media and through partnerships with science museums and other advocates for science education.
Understanding learning and memory is the most significant scientific challenge of our generation. We are excited to take on the challenge and look forward to sharing our progress with you in years to come. Charan Ranganath, Ph.D. Director, UC Davis Memory and Plasticity Program