Amar Sahay, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
The incidence and complexity of mental illnesses and cognitive impairments associated with aging and Alzheimer’s disease underscores the need to develop novel treatments. Our mission is to generate fundamental insights into the role of hippocampal circuit mechanisms and network plasticity processes such as adult hippocampal neurogenesis in memory processing and modulation of emotion. By integrating cellular, circuit, systems and behavioral interrogation of hippocampal circuit and network plasticity, we aspire to rejuvenate, repair and re-engineer circuitry to optimize hippocampal performance in diseases such as anxiety disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and aging.
To address this goal, we have established a multifaceted research program that integrates inducible mouse- and viral-genetics, pharmaco- and optogenetics, synaptic tracing, ex vivo physiology, in vivo awake behaving optical imaging, in vivo electrophysiological recordings, human cellular reprogramming, and behavioral analysis. Specifically, we are interested in the following questions:
•How are neural stem cell activation-quiescence and self-renewal divisions regulated?
•What are the mechanisms underlying integration of adult-born neurons?
•How do properties and connectivity of dentate granule neurons causally relate to their memory functions?
•How are computations about the external world relayed from hippocampus to subcortical and cortical circuits to guide behavior?
•How do our studies on properties and connectivity of adult-born neurons in rodents inform our thinking of the human brain in health and disease?
•What are hippocampal molecular mechanisms underlying resilience and vulnerability to stress?
Dr. Sahay is an Associate Professor at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at MGH and the James and Audrey Foster MGH Research Scholar. He is also an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Updated Videos of ongoing research:
Communication, Cross Talk, and Signal Integration in the Adult Hippocampal Neurogenic Niche
Vicidomini, Guo and Sahay, Neuron 2020
An Integrated Index: Engrams, Place cells, and Hippocampal Memory
Goode et al Neuron 2020
Functions of Adult-born Neurons in Hippocampal Memory Interference and Indexing
Miller and Sahay, Nature Neuroscience 2019
Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis, Fear Generalization, and Stress
Besnard and Sahay, Neuropsychopharmacology 2015