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Dixie Forum to explore the science behind learning and memory

ST. GEORGE, Utah —  After conducting a thorough study to understand how neuronal mechanisms activate the brain’s ability to recall memories, Dr. Steve Ramirez will reveal his recent advances in memory research during the next installment of Dixie State University’s weekly lecture series Dixie Forum: A Window on the World.

Ramirez, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Boston University, will present “The Neuronal Mechanisms of Learning and Memory” at noon on Oct. 23 in the Dunford Auditorium of the Browning Resource Center on the Dixie State campus. Admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

After delving into the modern memory engram theory, which stems from memories that thread and unify an individual’s overall sense of being, Ramirez will share his findings on how a specific behavior in the brain system activates mnemonic processes. These processes essentially help the brain remember memories and can modify existing positive and negative memories. Artificially activating these memories may be an effective means to chronically suppressing psychiatric disease-related states.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Boston University, Ramirez began researching the field of learning and memory in Howard Eichenbaum’s laboratory. He later went on to receive his doctorate in neuroscience in Susumu Tonegawa’s laboratory at MIT, where his work focused on artificially modulating memories in rodents’ brains. He also has received the Smithsonian’s American Ingenuity award, National Geographic’s Breakthrough Explorer prize, Forbes and Technology Review’s Top 35 Innovators Under 35 recognition and has given a TED talk.

Dixie Forum is a weekly lecture series designed to introduce the St. George and DSU communities to diverse ideas and personalities while widening their worldviews via a 50-minute presentation. The next installment of Dixie Forum, which is set to take place at noon on Oct. 30 in the Dunford Auditorium, will feature Rico del Sesto and the Nobel Prize Panel in a presentation that will discuss how Nobel Prize winners are inducted.

For more information about Dixie State University’s Dixie Forum series, visit humanities.dixie.edu/the-dixie-forum.