Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Andersen, Per O.
Location University of Oslo
Primary Field Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
 Election Citation
Andersen is one of the major students of the cortical physiology of the hippocampus. His laboratory has led to the discovery of LTP, defined the trisynaptic pathway that courses through the hippocampus and pioneered in developing the hippocampal slice.
 Research Interests
As a neurobiologist, I have been interested particularly in the way in which cells in the cerebral cortex communicate. Through their functional contacts (synapses), each cortical cell may influence up to ten thousand cells while receiving signals from up to 25,000 other nerve cells. Through studies of the hippocampus, a special part of the cerebral cortex, my colleagues and I have found that the function of synapses often correlates with their location on the cell body or in the dendritic tree. Basket cell synapses on the cell body are inhibitory while excitatory synapses are found exclusively on small dendritic protrusions called spines. More detailed studies became possible after we developed an isolated cortical preparation, the transverse hippocampal slice, a thin sliver of a dissected hippocampus kept in a chamber with nutrient fluid and gas. Synapses in different parts of the dendritic tree have nearly equal efficiency and sum their effects in a linear fashion. This preparation has also allowed great progress in the study of long-term potentiation (LTP, discovered by T. Lomo in my laboratory) of synaptic transmission. Over the years, LTP has become a popular model for such cellular processes that may underlie changes taking place during learning and memory.

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