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The roles of slow sleep oscillations and associated brain connectivity mechanisms in memory consolidation and executive functions.
Belgium (BeMSA) - l'Université libre de Bruxelles ULB, Bruxelles
ULB Neuroscience Institute
English, French (highly recommended)
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
It has been hypothesized that slow wave sleep (SWS) benefits the consolidation of hippocampus-dependent declarative memories (i.e.,memory for facts and events). In this project we test the hypothesis that SWS impacts memory consolidation processes by increasing brain connectivity between the hippocampi and the prefrontal cortex. This research will provide a better understanding of the functional role of sleep-dependent increases of activity in the prefrontal, to create long-term storage of newly learned information.
What is the aim of the project?
This project will improve our understanding of the functional role of slow oscillations during sleep on both the development of brain connectivity mechanisms that underlie memory consolidation in the human brain and across development
What techniques and methods are used?
We will analyse, using magnetoencephalography (MEG), the impact of brain connectivity mechanisms occurring during SWS on the brain connectivity mechanisms associated with the immediate and delayed retrieval of new declarative memories. Our understanding of how SWS triggers change in hippocampofrontal connectivity mechanisms will be augmented by comparing (i) healthy adults and children who for an equivalent period of sleep, differ by SWS amounts, and (ii) children with idiopathic epilepsies, who feature SWS activity disruptions, with age-matched controls. Finally, we will compare the impact of sleep on the brain connectivity mechanisms associated with (i) the delayed retrieval of memories and (ii) performance of executive tasks.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
This internship will involve, on the one hand, the acquisition of magnetoencephalography and elektroencephalography (EEG) data. The student will follow me in the preparation and acquisition of data in magnetoencephralogy and (perhaps) EEG with adults (20-30 years) and children (7-12 years). He will also be involved in pre-processing the raw data and in the statistical analyses related to our research hypothesis. Finally, he will certainly have to make a presentation in front of our laboratory and, perhaps if time permits, a poster to present. PS: I will always be present for data acquisitions, unless the student trainee speaks French
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a poster - The student will prepare a presentation
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
The student must be independent, curious and interested. In research, we are looking for rigorous people, who are not disturbed by the idea of working on weekends from time to time (especially for acquisitions with children). The student must also feel comfortable with children.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Urbain; C.; De Tiège; X.; Op De Beeck; M.; Bourguignon; M.; Wens; V.; Verheulpen; D.; … Peigneux; P. (2016). Sleep in children triggers rapid reorganization of memory-related brain processes. NeuroImage; 134; 213–222.
- Urbain; C.; Galer; S.; Van Bogaert; P.; & Peigneux; P. (2013b). Pathophysiology of sleep-dependent memory consolidation processes in children. International Journal of Psychophysiology: Official Journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology; 89(2); 273–283.
- Takashima; A.; Petersson; K. M.; Rutters; F.; Tendolkar; I.; Jensen; O.; Zwarts; M. J.; … Fernández; G. (2006). Declarative memory consolidation in humans: a prospective functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; 103(3); 756–761.
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