Dr. Aaron Wilber
Assistant Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience
- PDB B346
- We have two areas of focus: 1) Understanding the brain dynamics that allow us to derive a sense of location from a body-centered view of the world and how these brain systems participate in learning and memory. A critical role of this brain network is to update our internal map of the environment when there is a conflict with the external environment (something we experience when getting reoriented after being lost). 2) This work exploring normal mechanisms informs parallel research on how these neural networks are altered by mental and memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. These two areas of focus are designed to advance our progress towards a long-term goal to use maternal separation as a model to assess the contribution of neonatal stress to the development of mental and age-related cognitive disorders.
- Current Research
- To accomplish our goals we use custom 3D printed recording arrays to monitor many single cells in multiple brain regions, while simultaneously recording population related neural activity (local field potentials). We also use circuit specific manipulations, semi-automated density based measures of disease markers and brain connectivity, and mouse models of disease (e.g., Alzheimer’s). These approaches are applied in rodents that are navigating freely moving or in virtual environments. Specifically, we are exploring how we derive a sense of location from a body-centered view of the world? How are brain circuits involved in spatial learning and memory altered by neonatal perturbations, mental and neurological disorders? Can we mimic impairments observed in disease and disorder by circuit specific manipulations to the underlying neural network?
- Recent Publications
Wilber AA, Skelin I, Wu W, McNaughton BL, Laminar organization of encoding and memory reactivation in the parietal cortex, Neuron, 2017 PubMed Mesina L, Wilber AA, Clark BJ, Dube S, Demecha AJ, Stark CE, McNaughton BL, A methodological pipeline for serial-section imaging and tissue realignment for whole-brain functional and connectivity assessment, J Neurosci Methods, 2016 PubMed Wilber AA, Clark BJ, Demecha AJ, Mesina L, Vos JM, McNaughton BL, Cortical connectivity maps reveal anatomically distinct areas in the parietal cortex of the rat, Front Neural Circuits, 2015 PubMed Wilber AA, Clark BJ, Forster TC, Tatsuno M, McNaughton BL, Interaction of egocentric and world-centered reference frames in the rat posterior parietal cortex, J Neurosci, 2014 PubMed Wilber AA, Lin GL, Wellman CL, Neonatal corticosterone administration impairs adult eyeblink conditioning and decreases glucocorticoid receptor expression in the cerebellar interpositus nucleus, Neuroscience, 2011 PubMed Wilber AA, Walker AG, Southwood CJ, Farrell MR, Lin GL, Rebec GV, Wellman CL, Chronic stress alters neural activity in medial prefrontal cortex during retrieval of extinction, Neuroscience, 2011 PubMed Wilber AA, Lin GL, Wellman CL, Glucocorticoid receptor blockade in the posterior interpositus nucleus reverses maternal separation-induced deficits in adult eyeblink conditioning, Neurobiol Learn Mem, 2010 PubMed