Overview of Interests
Dr. Sweatt has had a career-long interest in biochemical mechanisms of learning and memory. In addition, his research program also investigates mechanisms of learning and memory disorders, such as intellectual and developmental disabilities and aging-related memory dysfunction. The laboratory uses knockout and transgenic mice to investigate signal transduction mechanisms in the hippocampus, a brain region known to be critical for higher-order memory formation in animals and humans. The laboratory also uses a large number of genetically engineered mouse models for human learning and memory disorders in order to investigate the molecular and cellular basis of human memory dysfunction. The laboratory has discovered a number of new roles and mechanisms of gene regulation in memory formation, focusing on studies of transcription factors, regulators of chromatin structure, and other epigenetic mechanisms such as chemical modification of DNA. Overall, Dr. Sweatt's work seeks to understand the role of regulation of gene expression in synaptic plasticity and long-term memory formation and storage. As part of the Department of Pharmacology, his laboratory also is interested in using what we have learned about the molecular basis of hippocampal synaptic plasticity and memory formation to generate insights into human pathological conditions associated with learning and memory dysfunction.
View Biographical Sketch (.pdf)