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
Stimmell AC, Baglietto-Vargas D, Moseley SC, Lapointe V, Thompson LM, LaFerla FM, McNaughton BL, Wilber AA (2019). Impaired Spatial Reorientation in the 3xTg-AD Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease. Sci Rep, 1311. PubMed Xu Z, Wu W, Winter SS, Mehlman ML, Butler WN, Simmons CM, Harvey RE, Berkowitz LE, Chen Y, Taube JS, Wilber AA, Clark BJ (2019). A Comparison of Neural Decoding Methods and Population Coding Across Thalamo-Cortical Head Direction Cells. Front Neural Circuits, 75. PubMed Clark BJ, Simmons CM, Berkowitz LE, Wilber AA (2018). The retrosplenial-parietal network and reference frame coordination for spatial navigation. Behav Neurosci, 132(5):416-429. PubMed Wilber AA, Skelin I, Wu W, McNaughton BL (2017). Laminar organization of encoding and memory reactivation in the parietal cortex. Neuron, 95(6):1406-1419. PubMed Mesina L, Wilber AA, Clark BJ, Dube S, Demecha AJ, Stark CE, McNaughton BL (2016). A methodological pipeline for serial-section imaging and tissue realignment for whole-brain functional and connectivity assessment. J Neurosci Methods, 266:151-60. PubMed Wilber AA, Clark BJ, Demecha AJ, Mesina L, Vos JM, McNaughton BL (2015). Cortical connectivity maps reveal anatomically distinct areas in the parietal cortex of the rat. Front Neural Circuits, 8:146. PubMed