In 1953, a young man, later became known as a patient HM, underwent an experimental surgery to bilaterally remove hippocampi as treatment of the intractable epilepsy, which resulted in a severe amnesia. While he could not memorize anything new, he could still recall his old memories. From the studies on the symptoms he exhibited, we now know that hippocampus is the site where a memory is initially formed but not stored for long-term. But we still do not know the detailed mechanism by which memory is encoded in hippocampus, transferred to the rest of the brain, and recalled. This is one of oldest and most profound questions left for mankind.
In our laboratory, we approach this question from multiple levels of studies from molecules to animal behavior.