Prof Maguire

Memory & Space

Professor Eleanor Maguire FMedSci


A distributed set of brain regions supports human episodic (autobiographical) memory, defined as the memory for personal everyday events. However, surprisingly little is understood about the contributions individual brain areas make to the overall recollective experience. We, and others, have noted that this brain network overlaps considerably with that supporting navigation in large-scale space and other diverse cognitive functions such as imagination and thinking about the future. In our research we seek to place episodic memory in the context of wider cognition so as to understand how common brain areas, and possibly common processes, support such disparate functions. We hope in this way to gain novel and fundamental insights into the mechanisms that are involved.


We use standard whole brain and high resolution structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging in conjunction with behavioural testing and neuropsychological examination of patients in order to pursue our aims. We mainly employ ecologically valid or 'real life' experimental paradigms to examine brain-behaviour relationships; examples include using virtual reality to examine navigation, studying London taxi drivers, investigating autobiographical memories of people’s personal past experiences, and their ability to imagine fictitious and future scenes and events.


Our primary interest is in the hippocampus and its contributions, whilst also exploring the roles of the parahippocampal cortex, the retrosplenial cortex and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

Researchers

  • Stephen Auger (CBRC MBPhD student)
  • Ian Clark (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
  • Marshall Dalton (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
  • Cornelia McCormick (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
  • Janice Glensman (collaborating Research Radiographer)
  • Victoria Hotchin (Research Assistant)
  • Anna Monk (Research Assistant)

Alumni

  • Sinéad Mullally (has secured a Lectureship at the Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University)
  • Heidi Bonnici (currently a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge)
  • Martin Chadwick (currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience at UCL)
  • Demis Hassabis (has secured a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship based at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL & MIT in the USA)
  • Dharshan Kumaran (currently engaged in a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship based jointly at UCL & Stanford University)
  • Hugo Spiers (currently engaged in a Wellcome Trust training fellowship at the Psychology Department, UCL)
  • Jennifer Summerfield (has moved into industry and is now heading up Research & Development at a multi-national fragrance company)
  • Katherine Woollett (currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL)
  • Peter Zeidman (has now joined the Methods Group here at the Centre)

PublicationsLink to Memory & Space Group Publications (PubMed link)

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Essay CompetitionRosalind Franklin Essay Competition 2009 (opens in a new window)