Cognitive Enhancement

How do we improve cognitive function?

What does rejuvenate brain function? 

Many factors impair cognitive function, including aging, acute stress, and mental illnesses. We study neurophysiological and neuroengineering methods to improve cognitive functions.

One of the target functions can be adult hippocampal neurogenesis and associated inhibitory circuit function changes. Increased neurogenesis was shown to enhance memory discrimination or rescue cognitive impairment in aged animals. Cognitive control training strengthened inhibitory circuit function in the hippocampus and rescued impaired cognitive function in mice and humans. Social enrichment in early life rescued impaired cognition in the autism mouse model. Social enrichment can reverse neuronal plasticity deficits caused by adolescent social stress, which requires adult neurogenesis. However, it is unclear whether neurogenesis and associated inhibitory plasticity are necessary and sufficient to reverse cognitive impairment caused by early life stress and other critical factors to induce cognitive impairment during development. Our lab studies how cognitive function can be restored by targeting neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity using various neurophysiological and neuroenginnering techniques.