One of the great challenges in the 21st century is to understand the biology of mental activity or mind. One of key components in the mind is learning and memory. Learning is the process by which we obtain the information about the world; memory is the process by which that information is stored. My lab has been interested in finding (1) what molecular mechanism underlies memory consolidation; (2) how is memory reorganized during reconsolidation process; (3) how we can erase our bad memory. To address these issues, we have used two experimental animal models: Aplysia and rodents. Today, I will introduce some of the key molecules that are critically involved in memory processes via synaptic plasticity in the nervous system. We found that signaling molecules and transcriptional factors required for memory consolidation are evolutionarily conserved. As memory is a dynamic and mutable process, we found that memory reorganization occurs via disruption of pre-existing memory by proteasome-dependent protein degradation and update of new information by protein synthesis. Finally I will show how synaptic plasticity and synaptic events are involved not only in learning and memory, but also in neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Research Activities :
Molecular mechanisms of brain functions, brain diseases, learning and memory
Honors and Awards :
- 2007: The Best Research Award, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University
- 2008: Life Science Award, Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology
- 2010: Fellow of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology
- 2012: Donghun Award, Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Editor-in-Chief in Molecular Brain, Review Editor in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, Editor in Molecules & Cells, BMB Reports, Experimental Molecular Medicine, Experimental Neurobiology