Regina Monaco

loc_samurai_3I’m interested in the exploration of information storage and criticality in biological neural networks. I am studying the encoding of memory in neural tissue, using novel imaging agents to visualize the dynamic formation of dendritic spines, to collect information on the formation of circuits in neural networks which are directly associated with the formation of memory.

These imaging agents are aptamer-conjugated gold nanoparticles. This imaging agent allows the nondestructive retrieval of information from neural systems. Such coded neural information may be considered in terms of Merkel’s description of “information theoretic death”, which happens at the point when the entropy of information encoded in the brain (however that is measured) has increased to the point that it becomes indistinguishable from background noise being generated by the tissue.¬†At that point the information in the brain becomes irretrievable. Developing and improving technology that allows retrieval, recovery, and/or reconstruction of neural information from neural tissue before this point of information theoretic death is reached will allow more robust preservation of memory. Understanding the biological mechanism of neural information encoding can allow retrieval of information after brain injury, the development of biologically-directed methods of encoding information in complex neural networks, and neural reconstruction after cryonic preservation of neural tissue, if such information has been preserved.

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