Brain Talk: Brain Talk Podcast
View All Brain Talk Podcasts

Learning, Memory, Fear & PTSD
Richard L. Huganir, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Department of Neuroscience
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Co-Director, Brain Science Institute

Dr. Richard Huganir

Dr. Huganir's research focuses on how memories are physically encoded in your brain. Learning changes brain connectivity and these changes can last a lifetime (memories of early childhood can be remembered into old age) and how this occurs is one of the major goals of my research. This basic research has implications for many disorders and diseases. Alzheimer’s disease and age related dementia are the result of the disruption of these basic mechanisms and this research give us clues on how to how to treat these diseases. It also has implications for releaving emotionally disturbing memories such as occurs with PTSD or maladaptive learning such as occurs with drug addiction. If we understand how memories are encoded we can try to enhance this process in dementias and reverse fear associated memories in the case of PTSD or drug craving in drug addiction. 

Dr. Richard Huganir is a Professor and Director of the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, as well as an Investigator with Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Brain Science Institute. Dr. Huganir’s career has focused on synapses, the connections between nerve cells, in the brain. Dr. Huganir’s general approach has been to study molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate neurotransmitter receptors. Dr. Huganir’s studies have shown that the regulation of receptor function is a major mechanism for the regulation of neuronal excitability and connectivity in the brain and is critical for many higher brain processes including learning and memory and the proper development of the brain. Dr. Huganir has served as Treasurer of the Society for Neuroscience and received the Young Investigator Award and the Julius Axelrod Award from the Society for Neuroscience, the Santiago Grisolia Award and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and member of the Institute of Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Huganir

Additional Information:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) | Johns Hopkins Health Library

The Soloman H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University Website

Scientists Gain Insights into How to Erase Pathological Fear
By Jason Castro
Scientific American. December 14, 2010

Innovator: Richard Huganir
By Olga Kharif
Bloomberg Business Week Magazine. December 02, 2010

Brain Molecule May Offer Key to Erasing Fearful Memories  
by Jon Hamilton
NPR Shots - Health News from NPR. October 29, 2010

Johns Hopkins Researchers Discover How to Erase Memory
by Audrey Huang
Johns Hopkins Medicine News Release. October 28, 2010

Profile of Richard L. Huganir
Tinsley H. Davis , Freelance Science Writer
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United Sates (PNAS). March 21, 2006

Relevant Published Papers:

Calcium-permeable AMPA receptor dynamics mediate fear memory erasure. (pdf)
Roger L. Clem and Richard L. Huganir
Department of Neuroscience and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Science. November 19, 2010


Share This Information