Grants awarded

Characterising the neural mechanisms of human memory at high resolution


Prof Eleanor Maguire

University College London

United Kingdom

Losing the ability to remember past experiences is disorientating and it makes it difficult for people to live independently. Despite their importance, it is unclear how these autobiographical memories are enabled by the brain.

I will conduct detailed neuroscientific studies of autobiographical memories to establish precisely how they are built, how they are reconstructed during recollection and how neural representations of autobiographical memories change over time. My focus is on two brain regions known to be important for autobiographical memories – the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. I will use technologies, such as immersive virtual reality and powerful brain scanners, that record when and where memory-related signals occur in the brain. I will examine how these brain areas interact to produce the encoding and recollection of our lived experiences.

This work will help us understand how autobiographical memories become compromised by brain injury or disease.