How Do We Know What We Know?

The long term goal of our laboratory is to understand the molecular, cellular, circuit and behavioral mechanisms of
how we know what we know (check out our researchmaps!).

Much of our work is focused on a crucial and exciting component of this question:
memory. We are also leveraging our studies of memory and extraordinary cognition to develop treatments for cognitive disorders.

  • Stacks Image 2211
  • Stacks Image 2229
  • Stacks Image 2213
  • Stacks Image 2219
  • Stacks Image 2217
  • Stacks Image 2215
  • Stacks Image 2221
  • Stacks Image 2209
  • Stacks Image 2227
  • Stacks Image 2231
  • Stacks Image 2223


We are searching for the molecular, cellular and circuit processes that underlie the encoding, allocation, storage and linking of information in the brain.

Studies in our lab use
state-of-the-art approaches such as optogenetics, circuit mapping, one and two-photon in vivo imaging to investigate the circuit mechanisms that integrate and link memories across time.

Insights into mechanisms of memory are being used to unravel the causes and develop treatments for cognitive deficits associated with
aging, intellectual disabilities, and autism. Our studies in mice suggested that it is possible to reverse in adults neurodevelopmental disorders, such as intellectual disabilities associated with mutations in NF1, TSC and DISC1.

Studies of the mechanisms underlying
extraordinary cognitive function are being used to develop general treatments for cognitive disorders and to accelerate recovery after brain injury.

The Silva laboratory is also developing
bioinformatic strategies to address the growing complexity of the literature, including the development of a set of algorithms and a free web app ( to track causal information in biology.

  • Stacks Image 2238
  • Stacks Image 2241
  • Stacks Image 2244
  • Stacks Image 2247
  • Stacks Image 2250
  • Stacks Image 2253
  • Stacks Image 2256
  • Stacks Image 2259
  • Stacks Image 2262
  • Stacks Image 2265
  • Stacks Image 2268


New Science Advances paper on the role of post-natal immune activation in revealing social phenotypes in an animal model of Tuberous Sclerosis (PDF)

New Neuron Perspective on molecular, cellular, systems and cognitive mechanisms of memory structures!

New Cell paper with the Carmichael, Shohani labs showing that decreases of CCR5 enhance recovery after stroke and TBI: results in rodents and humans! (

New Nature Methods paper with the Aharoni, Golshani, and Khakh UCLA labs about head mounted fluorescent miniature microscopes!(

New Current Biology paper that argues that most translation failures cannot be attributed to biological differences between mice and men (

New Nature Communications paper with the
Carmichael Lab at UCLA showing that manipulations of CREB can enhance recovery after stroke! ((PDF)

Our paper "Hotspots of dendritic spine turnover facilitate clustered spine addition and learning & memory” featured by Ada Yee in
Nat Comm Editors’ Highlights

Our Memory Allocation and Linking discovery was highlighted by Scientific American as one of "
13 Discoveries that Could Change Everything"

New Nature Neuroscience Perspective with John Lisman on the role of synaptic plasticity and excitability in memory and memory linking (

New Nature Communications paper on hot spots of dendritic spine turnover facilitate learning and memory! (

NPR interview with Alcino Silva about memory linking

Scientific American Paper on Memory Linking!

Book: Engineering the next revolution in neuroscience: the new science of experiment planning