Functional Architecture of Memory

Prof. Dr. Magdalena Sauvage


Prof. Dr. Magdalena Sauvage

Department Functional Architecture of Memory
Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology
Brenneckestraße 6
39118 Magdeburg
Phone: +49-391-6263-94011

Our research focuses on the medial temporal lobe (MTL) areas, which are damaged in aging and amnesia resulting in severe memory deficits. Our aim is to characterize the specific contribution of each MTL area to memory function. We study the spatial and the temporal components of episodic memory, the selective contribution of the MTL areas to encoding and retrieval, as well as to familiarity and recollection. We investigate memory function in healthy subjects, in aging and in animal models of amnesia by combining innovative behavioral memory paradigms with state-of-the-art imaging techniques.


In collaboration with Eichenbaum's laboratory (BU, USA), we adapted ROC analysis to animals and showed that the hippocampus supports recollection, but not familiarity (Sauvage et al, Nature Neurosc., 2008). The molecular imaging picture represents an example of cat FISH detection that was established in collaboration with the Kitsukawa's laboratory (Osaka U., Japan).



The originality of our approach is to combine translational memory paradigms (standard human recognition memory tasks adapted to rodents) to selective stereotactic lesions, high resolution neuroanatomical imaging and optogenetic techniques as well as mutagenesis and in-vivo electrophysiology. In addition, we are currently developing cognitive fMRI paradigms for awake rodents with the aim of bridging further human and animal recognition memory function. Finally, we conduct behavioral human studies aiming at further characterizing memory deficits seen in depressive and PTSD patients.


Selected publications

- Lux V, Masseck OA, Herlitze S, Sauvage MM (2017) "Optogenetic Destabilization of the Memory Trace in CA1: Insights into Reconsolidation and Retrieval Processes." Cereb Cortex, 27(1):841-851 (Recommended by the Faculty of 1000)

- Lux V, Atucha E, Kitsukawa T, Sauvage MM (2016) "Imaging a memory trace over half a life-time in the medial temporal lobe reveals a time-limited role of CA3 neurons in retrieval." Elife doi: 10.7554/eLife.11862

- Nakamura N, Flasbeck V, Maingret N, Kitsukawa T, Sauvage MM (2013) “Proximodistal segregation of non-spatial information in CA3: preferential involvement of a proximal CA3-distal CA1 network in non-spatial recognition memory?”, Journal of Neuroscience,33(28):11506-14

- Eichenbaum H, Sauvage M, Fortin N, Komorowski R, Lipton P (2011) "Towards a functional organization of episodic memory in the medial temporal lobe". Neuroscience Biobehavioral Review. 36(7):1597-1608.

- Sauvage M, Beer Z, Ho L, Eichenbaum H (2010) “The caudal medial entorhinal cortex: a selective role in recollection-based recognition memory“, Journal of Neuroscience, 17;30(46)15.

- Sauvage M, Fortin N, Owens C, Yonelinas AP, Eichenbaum H (2008) "Recognition memory: opposite effects of hippocampal damage on recollection and familiarity“, Nature Neuroscience. 11(1):16-8 (highlighted in Nature Perspectives).