We are studying the role of local and long-range interneurons in an olfactory learning behavior involving processing of the incoming signal in the prefrontal cortex and learning in hippocampus and interactions of these two brain regions. Studies in hippocampus suggest that information is transferred between brain areas by “chunks” of neuronal activity firing at gamma frequency that take place at specific phases of the slower theta frequency oscillations (PAC) (12, 13). In our lab we showed that the accuracy for encoding the identity of the rewarded odorant in a go-no go odor discrimination task from olfactory bulb CFC oscillatory activity was higher when the decoder evaluated the power (amplitude) of gamma oscillations (65-95 Hz) at the peak phase of the slower theta oscillation (6-14 Hz). In addition, the accuracy of decoding increased as the animal learned to discriminate odorants (14). Furthermore, my preliminary data (15) shows that the coherence of theta oscillations between the prefrontal cortex and CA1 is smaller in CaMKIIα KO mice compared to wild type mice undergoing this go-no go task.
Dr. Daniel Ramirez- Gordillo is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He earned his PhD in biology/neurobiology from New Mexico State University. His research interest is in diseases and disorders that affect the
central nervous system. He is currently working on two projects that aim to understand the circuitry between the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. One project aims to understand the role of CaMKIIα in learning and memory formation. Specifically,
how decreased expression of CaMKIIα affects phase amplitude coupling, theta reference power and coherence. The second project aims to study the function of long-range interneurons in regulating neuronal oscillations and how activation of long-range
interneurons affects learning and memory. He enjoys talking and educating elementary, middle, and high school students about careers in science.
"I was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised in the Aurora/Metro area. Previous to accepting a position in the Neurosurgery Department, I worked in the animal vivarium as an animal care technician, where I gained a ton of knowledge about animal husbandry. Working with OLAR, I was privileged to work with various species including mice, rats, pigs, cats, chinchillas, and many different animals. After seven years of working with animals, I decided it was time to take on a different challenge and moved on to a leadership position in the Cage Wash Department in OLAR which helped me gain immense respect for what happens in the background of animal research. In my free time, I enjoy fishing, camping, and overall, just being outdoors."
I’m a summer intern in Dr. Ramirez-Gordillo’s lab. I’m wrapping up my undergraduate education at Colorado Mesa University where I’m majoring in Exercise Science with a minor in Biology. While my education has mostly circled around the importance of exercise and movement to maintain physical independence throughout life, my interests lie heavily on how to use exercise to ameliorate brain and cognitive health through both normal aging processes as well as diseased states. Spending the summer in the lab will allow me to explore further education or career options, as well as get hands on experience researching topics that are important to me, and that I can connect to my education thus far. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time hiking and taking advantage of the beautiful Colorado landscape with my daughter.