Jon Rueckemann, Ph.D.

University of Washington

Jon Rueckemann’s research is centered around uncovering the hippocampal mechanisms that facilitate linking discontiguous events into a unitary sequence. His present research investigates hippocampal activity in non-human primates while they perform tasks in virtual environments to determine how task structure shapes the responses of hippocampal neurons. This top-down approach is complemented by characterization of the temporal structure of network activity and circuit manipulations, because understanding the circuit mechanisms that shape network physiology is key to describing how the hippocampus processes information. In his graduate work, he researched the influence of cortical input on hippocampal activity in rats through a combination of optogenetics, pharmacology, and extracellular electrophysiology in the laboratory of Howard Eichenbaum at Boston University.

Principal Investigator: Beth Buffalo

Fellow: Gian Rodrigues

The hippocampus is critical for the formation of new memories. Our research investigates the physiology of the hippocampus in non-human primates to uncover how its microcircuitry supports information processing. Theta oscillations in the hippocampal local field potential arise from synchronized activity of principal cells, and thereby reflect the temporal structure of network-level communication. Although theta rhythmic activity is a near constant feature during attentive wakefulness in the rodent hippocampus, it manifests in primates only sporadically and much more variably in frequency. This fundamental difference in network physiology across species underlines the strong need to characterize the mechanisms that temporally structure hippocampal communication in non-human primates. The proposed SURF fellow project will use data collected in our laboratory during navigation of a virtual Y-maze to determine how neuronal spiking is shaped by bouts of theta activity.

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