The foundation is currently supporting a computer modelling centre within the Oxford University Department of Experimental Psychology
Members of the university research centre are developing models of various memory processes in the brain. Such models contain many thousands of connected neurons, which interact with each other in complex ways.
For example, we are investigating the interaction between mood and memory systems in the brain. Associations between memories and mood states, and positive feedback between these systems, may play a major role in depression.
In other studies, neural network models have been used to understand how synchronous activity spreads through a population of neurons during epilepsy. These studies can help to shed light on the complex neural dynamics underpinning epileptic seizures, and may help to guide the discovery of effective drugs.
Another disease state, which we are investigating through computer simulation, is schizophrenia.This disabling disease affects approximately 1% of the population during their lifetime.We are exploring the possibility that classic schizophrenic symptoms such as paranoid delusions and poor attention may be due to unstable memory states.
Our research on memory storage in the brain has contributed to understanding the role of the hippocampus in retrograde amnesia in which episodic memories cannot be recalled, and anterograde amnesia in which new memories cannot be laid down. Revealing how the hippocampus works may help researchers to find new treatments for amnesia, including disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.