Summary of Current Research
My research is focused on understanding how new memories form and how, once formed, these memories can be modulated or weakened through environmental and pharmacological interventions. Research in my lab investigates memory at three different levels of analysis. At the behavioral level, we are interested in how different environmental experiences can cause memories to be formed or suppressed. At the neurobiological systems level, we focus on how brain circuits that mediate memory are altered by behavioral experience. At the molecular level, we investigate whether manipulating epigenetic processes can modulate long-term memories. Recent work has focused on the control of gene expression by pharmacological modulation of chromatin, the protein complex that packages genomic DNA. Relaxing chromatin structure by administering a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor can promote gene expression by facilitating interactions between transcription factors and DNA. We have found that HDAC inhibitors promote the development and persistence of different kinds of memories. At a molecular level, these findings reinforce the idea that regulation of gene expression via chromatin modification is critical for memory. At a clinical level, these findings suggest that modulating chromatin modification during an episode of learning may lead to a persistent form of memory.
2010-2016 Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU
2005-2010 Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, OHSU
1998-2004 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania (Advisor: Ted Abel)
Areas of interest
- Neurobiology of learning and memory
- Models of substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Learning theory
- Pharmacological approaches to enhancing memory
- Epigenetic mechanisms of memory
- B.A., University of California San Diego 1993
- Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania 1998
Abraham, A.D., Neve, K.A., & Lattal, K.M. (2016). Effects of D1 receptor knockout on fear and reward learning. Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, 133, 265-273.
Abraham, A.D., Neve, K.A., & Lattal, K.M. (2016). Activation of D1/5 dopamine receptors: A common mechanism for enhancing extinction of fear and reward-seeking behaviors. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41, 2072–2081.
Crabbe, J.C., Schlumbohm, J. P., Hack, W., Barkley-Levenson, A. M., Metten, P., & Lattal, K.M. (2016). Fear conditioning in mouse lines genetically selected for binge-like ethanol drinking. Alcohol, 52, 25-32.
Tipps, M.E., Raybuck, J.D., Buck, K.J., & Lattal, K.M. (2014). Delay and trace fear conditioning in C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice: Issues of measurement and performance. Learning & Memory, 21, 380-393.
Hitchcock, L.N., Cunningham, C.L., & Lattal, K.M. (2014). Cue configuration effects in acquisition and extinction of a cocaine-induced place preference. Behavioral Neuroscience, 128, 217-227.
Stafford, J.M., Maughan, D.K., Ilioi, E.C., & Lattal, K.M. (2013). Exposure to a fearful context during periods of memory plasticity impairs extinction via hyperactivation of frontal-amygdalar circuits. Learning & Memory, 20, 156-163.
Lattal, K.M. & Wood, M.A. (2013). Epigenetics and persistent memory: Implications for reconsolidation and silent extinction beyond the zero. Nature Neuroscience, 16, 124-129.
Stafford, J.M., Raybuck, J.D., Ryabinin, A., & Lattal, K.M. (2012). Increasing histone acetylation in the hippocampus-infralimbic network enhances fear extinction. Biological Psychiatry, 72, 25-33.