Steve Ramirez, PhD
Associate Professor
Boston University College of Engineering
Psychological and Brain Sciences

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BA, Boston University

I am an Assistant Professor at Boston University in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. The mission of my lab’s research is to artificially modulate memories to reverse and prevent psychiatric disease-like states, such as depression- and anxiety-related phenotypes. My previous work identified a defined set of cells active during various memory formation, genetically engineered these cells to respond to light, and optically activated or inhibited these cells while measuring the associated behavioral outputs. These projects focused on mapping out which brain regions were necessary and/or sufficient for memory recall, artificially creating false memories in the rodent brain, modulating the emotional strength associated with specific memories, and leveraging these aforementioned manipulations to reverse depression-like phenotypes. My current projects aim to study the brain-wide cellular mechanisms that confer therapeutic or deleterious value to artificially activated positive and negative memories in mice.

Mapping and manipulating neural memory circuits in mice (SDL) to tackle brain disorders that disproportionally affect underrepresented groups by modifying neurons tied to memory
12/01/2022 - 11/30/2027 (PI)
Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Restoring the Brain with Activated Memories
07/12/2022 - 07/12/2027 (PI)
The Pew Charitable Trusts

The effect of adolescent drug-induced neuroimmune signaling in sex-specific social development and reward learning
07/01/2022 - 03/31/2027 (Subcontract PI)
Albany Medical College NIH NIDA

Assessing the dynamics of hippocampal neuronal engrams in memory formation and aging
09/15/2023 - 08/31/2025 (Key Person / Mentor)
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke

Characterizing the neural correlates of memory-guided conflict resolution
09/01/2022 - 08/31/2025 (Key Person / Mentor)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Neuron-Astrocyte Dynamics in Learning and Memory with Population- and Single-Cell Resolution
05/23/2023 - 05/22/2025 (PI)
Ludwig Family Foundation

Carol and Gene Ludwig Award for Neurodegeneration Research
09/24/2021 - 10/01/2024 (PI)
Ludwig Family Foundation

Discovering Principles of Memory Storage, Retrieval, and Restoration
10/01/2023 - 09/30/2024 (PI)
Department of Defense/AFOSR

Restoring Access to Memories 'Lost' as a Result of Sleep Deprivation
09/01/2021 - 08/31/2024 (PI)
Department of Defense/AFOSR

Single-Cell and Target Specific Resolution of Multiple Memories Across the Brain
09/13/2019 - 08/31/2024 (Multi-PI)
PI: Steve Ramirez, PhD
Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene NIH NICHD

Showing 10 of 17 results. Show All Results


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
2024 2024 Optogenetic Approaches to Understanding Neural Circuits and Behavior Gordon Research Conference and Seminar 1R13NS137716-01
2023 Single-cell and target-specific resolution of multiple memories across the brain 5R01HD101402-05
2022 Single-cell and target-specific resolution of multiple memories across the brain 5R01HD101402-04
2021 Single-cell and target-specific resolution of multiple memories across the brain 5R01HD101402-03
2021 Artificially modulating memories to alleviate psychiatric disease-like states 5DP5OD023106-07 2
2020 Single-cell and target-specific resolution of multiple memories across the brain 5R01HD101402-02
2020 Artificially modulating memories to alleviate psychiatric disease-like states 5DP5OD023106-06 2
2019 Single-cell and target-specific resolution of multiple memories across the brain 1R01HD101402-01
2019 Artificially modulating memories to alleviate psychiatric disease-like states 3DP5OD023106-05S1 2
2019 Artificially modulating memories to alleviate psychiatric disease-like states 5DP5OD023106-05 2
Showing 10 of 14 results. Show All Results

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Hou JF, Nayeem MOG, Caplan KA, Ruesch EA, Caban-Murillo A, Criado-Hidalgo E, Ornellas SB, Williams B, Pearce AA, Dagdeviren HE, Surets M, White JA, Shapiro MG, Wang F, Ramirez S, Dagdeviren C. An implantable piezoelectric ultrasound stimulator (ImPULS) for deep brain activation. Nat Commun. 2024 Jun 04; 15(1):4601.View Related Profiles. PMID: 38834558; PMCID: PMC11150473; DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-48748-6;
  2. Surets M, Caban-Murillo A, Ramirez S. Prelimbic cortex ensembles promote appetitive learning-associated behavior. Learn Mem. 2024; 31(1-2). PMID: 38408863; PMCID: PMC10903945; DOI: 10.1101/lm.053892.123;
  3. Suthard RL, Senne RA, Buzharsky MD, Diep AH, Pyo AY, Ramirez S. Engram reactivation mimics cellular signatures of fear. Cell Rep. 2024 Mar 26; 43(3):113850. PMID: 38401120
  4. Dorst KE, Senne RA, Diep AH, de Boer AR, Suthard RL, Leblanc H, Ruesch EA, Pyo AY, Skelton S, Carstensen LC, Malmberg S, McKissick OP, Bladon JH, Ramirez S. Hippocampal Engrams Generate Variable Behavioral Responses and Brain-Wide Network States. J Neurosci. 2024 Jan 10; 44(2). PMID: 38050098; PMCID: PMC10860633; DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0340-23.2023;
  5. Rahsepar B, Norman JF, Noueihed J, Lahner B, Quick MH, Ghaemi K, Pandya A, Fernandez FR, Ramirez S, White JA. Theta-phase-specific modulation of dentate gyrus memory neurons. Elife. 2023 Jul 04; 12.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37401757; PMCID: PMC10361715; DOI: 10.7554/eLife.82697;
  6. Borzello M, Ramirez S, Treves A, Lee I, Scharfman H, Stark C, Knierim JJ, Rangel LM. Assessments of dentate gyrus function: discoveries and debates. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2023 Aug; 24(8):502-517. PMID: 37316588; PMCID: PMC10529488; DOI: 10.1038/s41583-023-00710-z;
  7. Suthard RL, Senne RA, Buzharsky MD, Pyo AY, Dorst KE, Diep AH, Cole RH, Ramirez S. Basolateral Amygdala Astrocytes Are Engaged by the Acquisition and Expression of a Contextual Fear Memory. J Neurosci. 2023 Jul 05; 43(27):4997-5013. PMID: 37268419; PMCID: PMC10324998; DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1775-22.2023;
  8. Wilmerding LK, Kondratyev I, Ramirez S, Hasselmo ME. Route-dependent spatial engram tagging in mouse dentate gyrus. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2023 Apr; 200:107738.View Related Profiles. PMID: 36822466; PMCID: PMC10106405; DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2023.107738;
  9. Suthard RL, Jellinger AL, Surets M, Shpokayte M, Pyo AY, Buzharsky MD, Senne RA, Dorst K, Leblanc H, Ramirez S. Chronic Gq activation of ventral hippocampal neurons and astrocytes differentially affects memory and behavior. Neurobiol Aging. 2023 May; 125:9-31. PMID: 36801699
  10. Linghu C, An B, Shpokayte M, Celiker OT, Shmoel N, Zhang R, Zhang C, Park D, Park WM, Ramirez S, Boyden ES. Recording of cellular physiological histories along optically readable self-assembling protein chains. Nat Biotechnol. 2023 May; 41(5):640-651. PMID: 36593405; PMCID: PMC10188365; DOI: 10.1038/s41587-022-01586-7;
Showing 10 of 34 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 32 publications over 12 distinct years, with a maximum of 6 publications in 2023


Sheena Josselyn and memories lost, found and created

The Transmitter 1/20/2024

Pew Scholar Investigates How Good and Bad Memories Impact Brain Health

Pew 12/13/2023

Can You Rewrite Bad Memories as Good Ones? Scientists Believe This Brave New World Is Near

First for Women 1/28/2023

Boston University Study Sheds New Light on Fear Memories and Behavior

BNN 1/2/2023

Good and bad memories are stored in different neurons, study finds

Freethink 11/19/2022

Memory: a revolutionary treatment for mental health disorders and neurodegeneration?

News Medical 11/2/2022

Steve Ramirez Reshapes Memories in the Brains of Mice

The Scientist 11/1/2022

Unlocking the Power of Our Emotional Memory To Cure Mental Health Disorders Like Depression and PTSD

SciTech Daily 10/28/2022

Good and bad memories have their own real estate in the brain, raising the possibility of memory manipulation

Big Think 10/26/2022

Can we rewrite fearful memories to treat anxiety?

Medical News Today 10/10/2022

Can We "Turn Down the Volume" on Negative Memories?

Technology Networks 10/4/2022

Rewriting negative memories by activating positive ones 10/4/2022

Research team shines light on how the brain stores positive and negative memories

Medical Xpress 10/3/2022

Unlocking the power of our emotional memory

Science Daily 10/3/2022

BU neuroscientists hope to uncover new ways to treat memory-related disorders

News Medical 10/3/2022

Sniffing Out the Science of Smelling

Smithsonian Magazine 9/21/2022

Using optogenetics, scientists pinpoint the location and timing of memory formation in mice

STAT 11/11/2021

The People’s Picks for Best Posts

National Institutes of Health 1/5/2021

Brain Cell DNA Refolds Itself to Aid Memory Recall

Quanta Magazine 11/2/2020

Study Suggests Scents Alter How Memories Are Processed In The Brain

ABC 14 News 3/20/2020

Smell May Shape How Brains Process Memories

Futurity 3/18/2020

Study suggests power of scents can alter how memories are processed in brain

Business Standard 3/18/2020

Study: Scents Alter How Memories Are Processed in the Brain

Lab Manager 3/18/2020

Linking scents to memories

Cosmos Magazine 3/18/2020

Scents alter how memories are processed in the brain, new study suggests

Fox News 3/18/2020

The Scents That Spark Our Memories

Technology Networks 3/17/2020

New research reveals that scents alter how memories are processed in the brain

Science Codex 3/17/2020

What a Memory Looks Like

NIH Director’s Blog 11/21/2019

The pill that ‘deletes painful memories’: Memory-altering drug could dull painful experiences after trial of 60 heartbroken volunteers helps them ‘turn the page’ and overcome ‘obsessions’

Daily Mail 11/1/2019

If you could erase the worst memory of your life, would you? Scientists working on a pill for that

National Post 10/31/2019

How To Manipulate Memories

NEO.LIFE 10/17/2019

Can We Manipulate Memory To Fight Anxiety?

Futurity 9/18/2019

Will It Ever Be Possible to Understand the Human Brain?

OneZero 8/21/2019

New Research Shows a Way of Manipulating Memories in the Brain

The Science Times 6/5/2019

Can we turn down the emotion on traumatic memories?

Futurity 5/29/2019

Study: Stimulating different parts of the brain can dial up or down a specific memory’s emotional oomph, study shows — (Details)

Tunisiesoir News 5/29/2019

The incredible science exploring how to edit our memories

New Atlas 5/29/2019

Study reveals possibility to enhance or suppress memories

News Medical 5/29/2019

Stimulating Parts Of The Brain May Enhance Or Suppress Memories

Tech Times 5/29/2019

Proof It’s Possible to Enhance or Suppress Memories: Mice Study

Technology Networks 5/29/2019

Manipulating memories could become a reality one day: study (BU research featured)

ANI News 5/29/2019

WIll you be able to manipulate your memory? New study gives hope of breakthrough

Devdiscourse 5/29/2019

Researchers figure out way to edit, enhance, suppress memories

Business Recorder 5/29/2019

Can We Turn Down The Emotion On Traumatic Memories?

ReliaWire 5/29/2019

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Scientists Discover How to Enhance and Suppress Memories with Uncanny Accuracy

Outer Places 5/28/2019

Scientists Find a Volume Knob for Emotional Memories

WIRED 5/28/2019

Proof it's possible to enhance or suppress memories

MedicalXpress 5/28/2019

Traumatic memories pit two neuron groups against each other

Popular Science 4/1/2019

This neuroscientist makes memories—and suppresses them

National Geographic Magazine 1/15/2019

2018 McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award
2018 UC Irving Learning and Memory symposium: NIH Travel Award
2017 NIH: Early Independence Award
2017 Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation: NARSAD Young Investigator Award
2016 Gordon Research Conference: Travel Award
2016 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology: Travel Award
2015 Science News: Top 10 Bright Young Minds
2015 Forbes: 30 Innovators Under the Age of 30
2015 National Geographic: Breakthrough Explorer
2015 MIT: Office of the Dean Graduate Education Diversity Fellowship
2014 Science Magazine: Top 10 Breakthroughs of the Year
2014 Smithsonian Magazine: American Ingenuity Award in the area of the Natural Sciences
2014 TEDx: Speaker
2014 Pacific Standard Magazine: W orld’s Top 30 Thinkers Under the Age of 30
2013 La Recherche: Top 10 discoveries of 2013
2013 Technology Review: W orld’s Top 35 Innovators Under the Age of 35
2013 MIT: W alle Nauta Award for Continued Dedication to Teaching
2012 MIT: Angus MacDonald Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
2012 MIT: Best Abstract
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