Research interests

Mechanisms of learning and memory

Research description

Our goal is to understand the basis of memory consolidation after learning and retrieval in the honeybee, Apis mellifera.

We are currently studying the following topics:

  1. Memory consolidation after retrieval
    The process by which labile memories are stabilized into long-lasting memories is referred to as consolidation. We are studying the mechanisms underlying memory consolidation in an pavlovian appetitive learning paradigm, the olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension response (PER) in the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Consolidated long-term memories are formed after CS-US pairings (CS = conditioned stimulus; US = unconditioned stimulus) as well as after memory retrieval with the CS alone. Two opposing consolidation processes, namely consolidation of an extinction memory and the re-consolidation take place after memory retrieval. The nature of the re-consolidation process and the relation between the two consolidation processes are not known. We are aiming to contribute to a understanding of the basis of memory consolidation after learning and retrieval.
  2. The molecular basis of memory consolidation: The role of the transcription factor CREB
    The transcription factor CREB (cAMP-dependent response element binding protein) is regarded as a switch between short-term and long-term memory. We are studying the role of the transcription factor AmCREB (Apis mellifera CREB) in the honeybee’s memory consolidation. Therefore we focus on the studies of the regulation of CREB function after learning. Investigating its role in memory consolidation helps us to unravel the mechanisms initiating different consolidation processes after CS-US pairing and memory retrieval.

Our experimental approaches involve behavioural analyses, behavioural pharmacology and biochemical analyses of processes occuring after learning and retrieval.