Zach Reagh, Postdoctoral Fellow
Memory is complicated and dynamic. It involves every sensory system, and yet we often present and test only visual cues in laboratory tests. Memories are extracted from ongoing experience, and yet most of our laboratory tasks present and later test on discrete chunks of information. Motivated by this discrepancy, my research in the DML is aimed at understanding how memory really works, rather than how it might work under a certain highly specific set of circumstances. Toward this end, I am using video and narrative stimuli to study how we organize memories in the face of incoming floods of multimodal information, and how bits of that information are represented in different cortico-hippocampal networks.
I am also interested in studying memory decline with aging and Alzheimer's disease. A major obstacle in memory studies in aging populations is that older participants often struggle with computerized tests, leaving a nasty open question: is there a memory deficit, or do they just hate the task? Using videos and narratives not only allows us to realistically tap into memory mechanisms, but also provides a simple and engaging paradigm for older subjects. In collaboration with Dr. Charlie DeCarli, we are studying participants at the UC Davis Alzheimer's center to ask whether deposition of Beta-Amyloid in the brain's posterior-medial system affects encoding and retrieval of information from continuous videos and narratives.
Zach received his PhD from the University of California, Irvine in 2017. When he isn't doing science, he can be found cycling, cooking, hiking, listening to music, playing music (poorly), and being manipulated by his two dachshunds. He also has a pretty cool wife, who manages Alex Nord's lab.