The Role of Sleep in Memory Storage


Ted Abel, University of Iowa

October 4, 2023 @ 04:00 pm to 05:00 pm

108 Wartik Laboratory
University Park


Millions of people regularly obtain insufficient sleep. Therefore, understanding the cellular and molecular pathways affected by sleep deprivation is of great social and clinical importance. Sleep facilitates the formation of hippocampus-dependent memories and brief periods of sleep deprivation are detrimental to memory consolidation. Additionally, sleep is regulated by many of the same molecular processes that contribute to memory storage. The Abel lab uses a combination of molecular, genetic, and viral approaches to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the impact of sleep deprivation long-term memory consolidation. We have found sleep deprivation induces a cascade of changes in cAMP signaling, protein synthesis, and changes in the actin cytoskeleton and dendritic spines. These molecular and cellular effects of sleep deprivation led to deficits in memory storage and synaptic plasticity. By manipulating these molecular pathways, we have been able to reverse the memory deficits caused by sleep deprivation. In our most recent work, we have used cutting-edge genomic techniques, including spatial transcriptomics, to map the impact of sleep loss in the brain.

About the Speaker:

Ted Abel, Ph.D., is the Director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute, Roy J. Carver Chair in Neuroscience, and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. A member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, his research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of memory storage and the molecular basis of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. He has been a pioneer in the use of molecular and genetic approaches to define how neural circuits mediate behavior. He co-directs the Hawkeye Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, launched in 2021, which is focused on the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and amelioration of intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Janine Kwapis