MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
Dr. Sahay is investigating ways to use hippocampal neurogenesis and hippocampal circuit mechanisms to improve memory in adulthood and aging.
Interrogating Plasticity and Heterogeneity of Inhibitory Interneurons as Gatekeepers of Memory Processing
The hippocampus plays a critical role in memory processing and in regulation of emotions.
It is therefore not surprising that impairments in hippocampal function characterize age-related cognitive decline, memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease and dysregulation of mood in psychiatric disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder.
Central to generating new therapeutic insights for these debilitating disorders is identifying fundamental hippocampal circuit and plasticity mechanisms that causally govern memory processing and regulation of mood.
Over the last 7 years, my laboratory has made pioneering contributions illuminating how adult hippocampal neurogenesis and hippocampal circuit mechanisms may be harnessed to improve memory in adulthood and aging.
These studies have alluded to a critical role for GABAergic inhibitory interneurons as gatekeepers of information flow within and out of the hippocampus to higher cortical and subcortical circuits.
This proposal seeks to instantiate the molecular basis of plasticity and heterogeneity of inhibitory interneurons underlying hippocampal memory processing.
Since excitation inhibition balance is essential to optimal neural circuit function, I predict that our efforts will shed light on the functional relevance of numerous disease mutations associated with memory and psychiatric disorders.