Particular, temporally-limited patterns of neural firing appear to be one of the mechanisms which enable information to be reliably stored and transmitted between different brain regions and to/from the periphery. Most engineering study of these patterns has focused on neuro-prosthetic interfaces. For example, neural decoding to control prosthetic limbs, or spatio-temporally structured stimulation to provide artificial sensory representations. What are the patterns of neural activity that enable emotion, decision making, and memory? Recent results have suggested that neural firing during hippocampal sharp wave ripple oscillations mayspecifically underly particular forms of memory storage and recall ([1] and [2] and [3]). What are the limits of detecting, decoding, and controllably manipulating these patterns of activity in real-time?

We are building systems to answer these questions in rodents engaged in complex learning and memory behaviors. Our experiments will build a foundation upon which the understanding of the causal role of particular patterns of neural activity can flourish, potentially leading to therapeutic work in humans patients.

[1] Girardeau, G., Benchenane, K., Wiener, S. I., Buzsáki, G. & Zugaro, M. B. Selective suppression of hippocampal ripples impairs spatial memory. Nat Neurosci 12, 1222–3 (2009).

[2] Ego-Stengel, V. & Wilson, M. a Disruption of ripple-associated hippocampal activity during rest impairs spatial learning in the rat. Hippocampus 20, 1–10 (2010).

[3] Jadhav, S. P., Kemere, C., German, P. W. & Frank, L. M. Awake hippocampal sharp-wave ripples support spatial memory. Science (80- ) 336, 1454–8 (2012).