The human hippocampus is a highly conserved brain structure
bearing close anatomical resemblance to that of the rat. Nonetheless, animal
research into hippocampal function has focused primarily on neural populations
coding memory for aspects of spatial navigation, while descriptions of human
memory more often examine memory functions that are uniquely human (such
as verbal and declarative memory for distinct learning episodes). This talk
will present multi-modal, high-resolution studies of hippocampal structure,
function, and connectivity to address two questions: How can a structure so
similar across species give rise to such uniquely human memory capabilities?
Why is a structure so fundamental to our functioning as humans so vulnerable to
damage throughout the lifespan?