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Alcino Silva

The Silva laboratory is studying the molecular, cellular and circuit processes that underlie the allocation, encoding, storage and linking of memories. To accomplish this they are using a variety of techniques including sophisticated molecular genetic approaches, optical physiology, optogenetics, in vivo 2 photon imaging, a new generation of head-mounted fluorescent miniscopes and behavioral analyses.

Silva and colleagues are also studiying the impact of these mechanisms in animal models of cognitive disorders, including intellectual disabilities. Based on these mechanistic studies, they have developed treatments for Noonan Syndrome, age-related cognitive decline, Neurofibromatosis type I, Tuberous Sclerosis, and cognitive deficits associated with HIV. The Silva laboratory is also developing approaches to accelerate recovery after brain injury and bioinformatic strategies for tracking and planning experiments (


Recent Publications

Lisman, John, Cooper, Katie, Segal, Megha, and Silva, Alcino J. Memory formation depends on both synapse specific modifications of synaptic strength and cell-specific increases in excitability. Nature Neuroscience (in press)
Frank, Adam C. , Huang, Shan, Zhou, Miou , Gdalyahu, Amos , Kastellakis, George, Poirazi, Panayiota, Silva, Tawnie K., Lu, Elaine, Wen, Ximiao, Trachtenberg, Joshua T., and Silva, Alcino J. Hotspots of Dendritic Spine Turnover Facilitate Clustered Spine Addition and Learning and Memory. Nature Communications (in press)
Silva, A.J. (2017). Memory's Intricate Web. Sci Am 317, 30-37. PMID:28632232

Denise J. Cai, Daniel Aharoni, Tristan Shuman, Justin Shobe, Jeremy Biane, Weilin Song, Brandon Wei, Michael Veshkini, Mimi La-Vu, Jerry Lou, Sergio Flores, Isaac Kim, Yoshitake Sano, Miou Zhou, Karsten Baumgaertel, Ayal Lavi, Masakazu Kamata, Mark Tuszynski, Mark Mayford, Peyman Golshani and Alcino J. Silva. A shared neural ensemble links distinct contextual memories encoded close in time. Nature 534, 115–118 (02 June 2016)

Miou Zhou Stuart Greenhill Shan Huang Tawnie K Silva Yoshitake Sano Shumin Wu Ying Cai Yoshiko Nagaoka Megha Sehgal Denise J Cai Yong-Seok Lee Kevin Fox Alcino J Silva. CCR5 is a suppressor for cortical plasticity and hippocampal learning and memory. DOI:; Published December 20, 2016; Cite as eLife 2016;10.7554/eLife.20985. PMID: 27996938; PMCID: PMC5213777