Cai Lab

Temporal Dynamics of Learning and Memory

Research

Denise CaiThere have been significant advances in mechanisms underlying how single memories are processed. Most experiences, however, involve the integration of multiple memories across time, with one memory affecting how others are processed, stored and retrieved. Indeed, there a dearth of studies investigating how multiple memories interact to shape behavior. This is a critical question as it provides key insight into how the brain can organize and integrate many different experiences so that it can efficiently file and cross-reference information for appropriate memory retrieval, a process critical for daily life.

In my laboratory, we are investigating how memories are linked and separated across time. We use a multi-level approach, leveraging our extensive experience with in vivo calcium imaging, activity-dependent gene regulation of chemogenetics and optogenetics, electrophysiology and novel behavioral assays. In addition to dissecting mechanisms of memory-linking in healthy controls, we are also interrogating how this process goes awry in memory disorders, such as in PTSD, addiction and age-related decline.

Cai Laboratory

Denise Cai
Assistant Professor
Email

Publications

Zhou M, Greenhill S, Huang S, Silva TK, Sano Y, Wu S, Cai Y, Nagaoka Y, Sehgal M, Cai DJ, Lee YS, Fox K, Silva AJ. (2016) CCR5 is a suppressor for cortical plasticity and hippocampal learning and memory. eLife. 2016 Dec 20;5. pii: e20985. PMID: 27996938

Cai DJ*, Aharoni D*, Shuman T*, Shobe J* (*co-first author), Biane J, Song W, Wei B, Veshkini M, La-Vu M, Lou J, Flores S, Kim I, Sano Y, Zhou M, Baumgaertel K, Lavi A, Kamata M, Tuszynski M, Mayford M, Golshani P, Silva AJ. (2016) A shared neural ensemble links distinct contextual memories encoded close in time. Nature, 534(7605),115-118. PMID: 27251287

Rogerson T, Jayaprakash B, Cai DJ, Sano Y, Lee Y, Bekal P, Deisseroth K, Silva AJ. (2016) Molecular and cellular mechanisms for trapping and activating emotional memories. PLOS ONE, 1(8):e0161655. PMID: 27579481

Kastellakis G, Cai DJ, Mednick SC, Silva AJ, Poirazi P. (2015) Synaptic clustering within dendrites: an emerging theory of memory formation. Progress in Neurobiology, 126,19-35. PMID: 25576663

Rogerson T, Cai DJ, Frank A, Sano Y, Shobe J, Lopez-Aranda MF, Silva AJ. (2014) Synaptic tagging during memory allocation. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 15(3), 157-169. PMID: 24496410

Sano Y, Shobe JL, Zhou M, Huang S, Shuman T, Cai DJ, Golshani P, Kamata M, Silva AJ. (2014) CREB regulates memory allocation in the insular cortex. Current Biology, 24(33): 2833-2837. PMID: 25454591

Shuman T, Cai DJ, Sage JR, Anagnostaras SG. (2012) Interactions between modafinil and cocaine during the induction and expression of conditioned place preference and locomotor sensitization: implications for addiction. Behavioural Brain Research, 235(2), 105-112. PMID: 22963989

Mednick SC, Cai DJ, Shuman T, Anagnostaras SG, Wixted JT. (2011) A opportunistic theory of cellular and systems consolidation. Trends in Neurosciences, (doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2003.10.071) PMID: 21742389

Anagnostaras SG, Wood SC, Shuman T, Cai DJ, LeDuc AD, Zurn KR, Sage JR, Herrera GM. (2010) Automated assessment of Pavlovian conditioned freezing and shock reactivity using the VideoFreeze system. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 4,158. PMID: 20953248

Rieth CA, Cai DJ, Mednick SC. (2010) The role of sleep and practice in implicit and explicit motor learning. Behavioural Brain Research, 214(2), 470-474. PMID: 20553972

Cai DJ, Mednick SA, Harrison EM, Kanady J, Mednick SC. (2009) REM, not incubation, improves creativity by priming associative networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(25), 10130-10134. PMID: 19506253

Cai DJ, Shuman T, Harrison EM, Sage JR, Anagnostaras SG. (2009) Sleep-deprivation and Pavlovian fear conditioning. Learning & Memory, 16, 595-599. PMID: 19794184

Cai DJ, Shuman T, Gorman MR, Sage JR, Anagnostaras SG. (2009) Sleep selectively enhances hippocampus-dependent memory in mice. Behavioral Neuroscience, 123(4), 713-719. PMID: 19634928

Cai DJ and Rickard TC. (2009) Reconsidering the role of sleep for motor memory consolidation. Behavioral Neuroscience, 123(6),1153-1157. PMID: 20001099

Mednick SC, Makovski T., Cai DJ, Jiang YV. (2009) Sleep and rest facilitate implicit memory in a visual search task. Vision Research, 49(21), 2557-2565. PMID: 19379769

Mednick SC, Cai DJ, Kanady J, Drummond SPA. (2008) Comparing the benefits of caffeine, naps and placebo on verbal, motor and perceptual memory. Behavioural Brain Research, 193(1), 79-86. PMID: 18554731

Rickard TC, Cai DJ, Rieth CA, Jones J, Ard MC. (2008) Sleep does not enhance motor sequence learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 34(4), 834-842. PMID: 18605872

Meet the Team

Denise Cai

Denise Cai

Assistant Professor
denisecai@gamil.com

Lingxuan Chen

Lingxuan Chen

Postdoctoral Fellow
lingxuan.chen@mssm.edu

Zachary Pennington

Zachary Pennington

Postdoctoral Fellow
zachary.pennington@mssm.edu

Zhe (Phil) Dong

Zhe (Phil) Dong

PhD Student
zhe.dong@icahn.mssm.edu

Brandon Wei

Brandon Wei

Lab Manager
brandon.wei@mssm.edu

Zhuoli Huang

Zhuoli Huang

Associate Researcher
zhuoli.huang@mssm.edu

Tristan Shuman

Tristan Shuman

Collaborator

Assistant Professor
tristan.shuman@mssm.edu

Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee

Collaborator

Assistant Clinical Professor
christopher.lee1@mssm.edu

(From left to right) Brandon Wei, Zhe (Phil) Dong, Maojuan Zhuang, Denise Cai, Zhuoli Huang, Chris Lee, Tristan Shuman