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Lab News

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 1:08pm
Tom Coleman was awarded a Mary Gates Research Scholarship. The title of his project is "The role of phasic dopamine on Learning and Memory Function".

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 11:52am

NIMH logoNational Institute of Mental Health Grant

Topic: Dopamine Regulation During Context Processing

PI: Dr. Sheri Mizumori



Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 10:53am

Hippocampal Place Fields Relevance to Learning and Memory Edited by Sheri J.Y. Mizumori  Oxford University PressHippocampal Place Fields
Relevance to Learning and Memory

Edited by Sheri J.Y. Mizumori

Oxford University Press
ISBN13: 9780195323245 ISBN10: 0195323246
Hardback, 432 pages
Feb 2008



"Someone peering in from another scientific field might appreciate the attraction to place cells but also might ask why a mere firing correlate is the subject of an entire book. The answers are found throughout the book. Put simply, place cells are now an important reference point from which to address a host of issues in neuroscience...The book's organization reflects Sheri Mizumori's deep understanding of the fact that place-cell research is much less a specialization than a field that adeptly speaks to scientific questions ranging from molecular biology to cognition. Ranging from historical background to the current leading discoveries and theories concerning place cells, this book is well-situated to be a resource for graduate- level students of the field as well as for nonspecialists."--Nature Neuroscience   (Read Full Review by Doug Nitz >>)

"This book combines theory and research quite nicely. The editor and contributors are the movers and the shakers in the field and they have created a book which stands alone, given its depth and its breadth."--Doody's


Data from neuropsychological and animal research suggest that the hippocampus plays a pivotal role in two relatively different areas: active navigation, as well as episodic learning and memory. Recent studies have attempted to bridge these disparate accounts of hippocampal function by emphasizing the role that hippocampal place cells may play in processing the spatial contextual information that defines situations in which learned behaviors occur. A number of established laboratories are currently offering complementary interpretations of place fields, and this book will present the first common platform for them. Bringing together research from behavioral, genetic, physiological, computational, and neural-systems perspectives will provide a thorough understanding of the extent to which studying place-field properties has informed our understanding of the neural mechanisms of hippocampus-dependent memory. Hippocampal Place Fields: Relevance to Learning and Memory will serve as a valuable reference for everyone interested in hippocampal function.


Monday, August 30, 2010 - 10:10pm


The purpose of the Royalty Research Fund (RRF) at the University of Washington is to advance new directions in research.

Dr. Sheri Mizumori (co-PI) awarded RRF for Amygdala Neural Activity in Taste Aversion Learning.


Monday, August 30, 2010 - 9:59pm

National Institute of Mental Health Grant

Topic: Dopamine Effects on Striatal and Hippocampal Plasticity

PI: Dr. Sheri Mizumori

Monday, August 30, 2010 - 9:51pm

Yong Sang Jo, graduate student at the NSDLM Lab, wins the University of Washington Psychology Department Top Scholar Award, 2010.




Monday, August 30, 2010 - 9:42pm

Mary  Gates Endowment LogoMary Gates Research Scholars
Erin Harrop was a 2009-10 recipients of a Research awards from the Mary Gates Endowment.

Project Title: Hippocampal and ventral tegmental area interactions and spatial learning

Mentor: Sheri Mizumori, Psychology

Monday, August 30, 2010 - 9:34pm

Sheri Mizumori received an Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.  She was one of four University of Washington faculty who were honored at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium held on May 15, 2009.

From the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium Page:

Kristin Swanson

"Sheri should receive this award because she has supplied the perfect amount of guidance balanced with the freedom to explore this project and make it my own. I have been able to be involved in almost every step of the study from researching background information to putting together the results and drawing conclusions. I didn't just learn how to run the animals and collect data; I was introduced to the process of conducting an experiment. I got a taste of what it would be like to be a graduate student. I am so grateful that Sheri allowed me to play such a large role in this study and I have benefited greatly from it. Also, it was mainly due to her encouragement that I received the Mary Gates scholarship. Sheri and the experiences I have gained under her have shaped my undergraduate education in wonderful ways."

Monday, August 30, 2010 - 9:29pm

Alix Norton receives a UW Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Scholar Award, 2009.

From the "UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON - Twelfth Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium"

The Role of Dopamine in Novelty and Taste Aversion Learning
Alix Norton, Senior, Psychology
Mentor: Sheri Mizumori, Psychology
Mentor: Min Jung Kim, Psychology

Dopamine (DA) plays a crucial role in the neurobiology of learning and memory by providing information about reward prediction error, incentive salience of environmentalcues, and the novelty value of a particular stimulus. The neural function of DA in the processing of rewards has been thoroughly explored in the last several years. More recent studies have begun to focus on the role of DA in response to aversive stimuli and conditioning.

In the current study, we explore a form of aversive conditioning known as conditioned taste aversion (CTA). CTA is a type of classical conditioning in which animals remember a taste stimulus and avoid consuming it once they have experienced the pairing of a novel taste (CS,conditioned stimulus) followed by the sensation of nausea
(US, unconditioned stimulus). In a typical laboratory experiment, a sweet taste such as saccharin is used as the CS, and LiCl (lithium chloride, a nausea-inducing agent)as the US. The dramatic changes in behavior after this
aversive taste conditioning period have been well presented in previous studies.

Our research focuses on both the dopaminergic neural activity as well as relevant behavioral reactions during the CTA process. Using a hyperdrive recording technique, neural activity of several single units can be simultaneously recorded while an animal performs a task. CTA learning targets neurons in the midbrain area, which is known to be a major source of dopamine in brain functioning. Our main interest in this study is how midbrain neurons process the same taste stimulus (e.g. saccharin) differentially according to the animal’s familiarity or novelty associated with the CS.

This study provides a new aspect of the dopaminergic role in reward processing, which can broaden our understanding in human domains of learning, such as drug addiction.

Monday, August 30, 2010 - 9:21pm

The Guthrie Prize is a high honor for any undergraduate student.  Entries may be either an empirical paper, a conceptual paper, a literature review, or a research proposal.  The prize was established to encourage excellent writing about psychology that was broad in scope and accessible to the non-specialist.

Best Empirical Paper, 2009:  Alix B. W. Norton

Encoding of Taste Novelty by Midbrain Neurons

Sponsored by Sheri Mizumori, Ph.D.

Monday, August 30, 2010 - 9:09pm

Adria Martig received the 2009 Committee on Animal Research & Ethics Imprinting Award from the APA to participate in the APA annual convention in Toronto in August.  She will be the guest of APA at several events honoring the awardees, including a mentoring session and an opportunity to present her research.   She is with the Mizumori lab.

Monday, August 30, 2010 - 7:37pm

Cortney Taylor received three quarters of funding from the Mary Gates Undergraduate Research scholarship fund in 2009. She is conducting research on how the brain controls its response to rewarding stimuli. Her advisor is Sheri J. Y. Mizumori.