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Caltech neuroscientist awarded McKnight Scholar Award to support memory research

Athanassios G. Siapas, Ph.D. has received a McKnight Scholar Award to support his research in memory formation. The award, presented by the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, have been given out annually since 1977 to neuroscientists early in the stage of their careers to focus on disorders of learning and memory. The award is given to neuroscientists whose projects address problems of imminent clinical implications.

Siapas, a Professor of Computation and Neural Systems at Caltech, studies the neural connections between neurons, and more specifically, how information is processed between the hippocampus and neocortical brain areas. The hippocampus is critical for the formation of new memories, while the neocortical area of the brain stores memories through the process of memory consolidation.

Because recording the activity of many neurons simultaneously is very difficult, Siapas’s research also focuses on the development of technologies to manipulate and monitor brain activities. Siapas will receive the grant of $225,000 over the next three years.

Siapas received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT in 1996 and then continued at MIT as a postdoctoral researcher in behavioral electrophysiology before joining the Caltech faculty in 2002.

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