Research Expertise & Professional Interests
Michael E. Hasselmo graduated summa cum laude in 1984 from Harvard College with a Special Concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience. He was awarded the Detur Prize and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He received a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University, where he completed a D.Phil. from the Department of Experimental Psychology in 1988 based on unit recording of face-responsive neurons in monkey temporal lobe cortex. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology from 1988 to 1991 where he published work on modulatory mechanisms in cortical brain slice preparations. He was an Assistant and Associate Professor at Harvard University from 1991-1998 in the Department of Psychology and in the Mind, Brain and Behavior Interfaculty Initiative. He published work on cholinergic modulation of synaptic transmission and spike frequency accomodation in cortical structures, and demonstrated that acetylcholine sets appropriate cortical dynamics for encoding of new information.
He is the Director of the Center for Systems Neuroscience at Boston University. He is the principal investigator on two NIMH R01 grants an ONR MURI award and an NSF EAGER grant for the Initiative on Physics and Mathematics of Neural Systems. He is the Associate Director of the Center for Memory and Brain which is funded by a Silvio O. Conte P50 center grant. Research in the laboratory includes intracellular whole cell patch recordings to analyze modulatory effects and oscillatory dynamics in brain slice preparations of cortical structures, as well as extracellular recording of multiple single units in the entorhinal cortex (including grid cells and head direction cells) and place cells in the hippocampus. His modeling includes network level models and detailed biophysical models. Recent publications address the function of theta rhythm oscillations in generation of grid cell firing and encoding of information in the hippocampus and related cortical structures, building on his earlier models of the role of acetylcholine in regulating mechanisms of encoding and consolidation.
He has published over 120 articles in peer reviewed journals including Science, Nature, Neuron, Trends in Neurosciences, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurophysiology, Neural Computation and Hippocampus. He is a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors at Science, the Computational Neuroscience editor at Hippocampus, an Associate Editor of the Journal of Neuroscience and Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, and he is on the editorial board of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Neural Networks, Network: Computation in Neural Systems, Neuroinformatics, and Brain Structure and Function. He served as president of the International Neural Network Society in 2003, and as program chair for the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks in Portland, Oregon, in July 2003. He is a current member of the board of governors of INNS. He was a co-chair of the 1996 Computational Neuroscience conference and publications chair for the NIPS conference in 1995. He has served as a reviewer and program committee member for the CNS, NIPS, IJCNN and COSYNE conferences.