Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Etan Markus

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology




The hippocampus is an elongated brain structure related to processing episodic memory and spatial navigation. The dorsal hippocampus plays an important role in spatial tasks (Lee & Kesner, 2003), while the ventral hippocampus is known to be involved with emotion (Fanselow & Dong, 2010). Previous work in our lab has shown that the dorsal and ventral sections within the same hemisphere work together during navigation (Lee et al., 2019). The lab is currently determining how activity in the dorsal hippocampus impacts place cell firing in the ventral hippocampus. To accomplish this the dorsal hippocampus will be inactivated using Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs).

To examine the impact of dorsal hippocampus inactivation, we analyzed the performance of rats in a spatial working memory version of the Morris Water Maze. Latency and swim path to the platform were compared under conditions with and without DREADD activation. It was found that there were no differences in spatial navigation abilities when the rats received vehicle or drug injections. Histological analysis showed that the initial DREADDs surgery was unsuccessful, explaining this finding.

Included in

Psychology Commons