Episode 30

In Episode #30, Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli discusses his breakthrough research in the area of memory – specifically, the precise mechanism through which the brain converts short-term memories into long-term memories. These findings will lead to the development of treatments for conditions associated with memory loss (which will affect a large swath of the population in the next three decades). Equally exciting is that this discovery could have implications for the next generation of smart drugs.

Dr. Costa-Mattioli received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the Faculty of Science, University of the Republic, in Montevideo, Uruguay. In 1998, he was offered an opportunity to continue his studies in France, where he received his Master’s Degree from the Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris and his PhD from the University of Nantes. In his graduate work, he studied genetic variability of positive stranded RNA viruses. In 2002, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Nahum Sonenberg at McGill University, Montreal as a post-doctoral fellow. His work defined the role of translational (protein synthesis) control in long-lasting synaptic plasticity and memory formation. In the summer of 2008, he joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas as an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience. Using multidisciplinary approaches, Dr. Costa-Mattioli’s laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying long-term synaptic plasticity, learning and memory and related neurological disorders.

This Week In Neuroscience: When it Comes to Sleep Depravation, We’re Asleep at the Wheel

A shocking study by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) revealed that 1 in 25 American drivers admits to falling asleep at the wheel in the previous 30 days. That means that 15-33% of all car accident fatalities could be attributed to drowsy drivers.  Combine this with the shocking number of texting drivers, and you might as well just take the bus. Studies show that adults who get only six hours of sleep per night will feel the equivalent losing one night of sleep every two weeks. Our audience is largely composed of type-A, motivated people who burn the candle at both ends, but the statistics don’t lie and even a little sleep deprivation can have a cumulative effect that quickly offsets the gains of those all-nighters. Dang. But it’s good to know. Give the original article a read below.

Read the original article here.

What You’ll Learn

  • A distant evolutionary link between mice and flies (who knew?) – and what it means for humans
  • The mechanisms used by the brain to commit memories to long-term storage
  • mTORC2: A compound required to form long-term memories

Key Terms Mentioned

Written by Ben Pomeroy
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