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Don Arnold

Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences


Professor Arnold studies how information is encoded in synapses. Modifying the network of synaptic connections between neurons is thought to be the main mechanism for storing information in the brain. The Arnold laboratory has developed novel recombinant probes known as FingRs that allow us to visualize and ablate synaptic connections in living organisms. We are using this technology to study how synapses change when a memory is formed in a behaving animal. We are also adapting this technology to enable the modification or erasure of memories in vivo through the ablation of synapses in a light-dependent manner. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms by which maladaptive memories, such as associative memories that can lead to PTSD or addiction, are formed. Ultimately, our goal is to use our technology to erase or modify such memories.

From This Author


New Research: Memories May Be Stored in the Connections Between Brain Cells

All memory storage devices, from your brain to the RAM in your computer, store information by changing their physical qualities. Over 130 years ago, pioneering neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal first suggested that the...

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