Animals acquire a vast quantity of information from their environment, but not all the formed memories are useful and they have to be adapted to an ever-changing environment. Therefore forgetting, which eliminates unnecessary or inappropriate memory, is crucial for the animals survival. Despite the importance of forgetting, the mechanisms and regulation of this phenomenon are not well understood.
In my PhD thesis I investigate the theoretical, genetic and neuronal basis of forgetting. To study forgetting we are doing olfactory classical conditioning experiments with the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In this widely used assay flies learn to associate an odour with sugar reward or electric shock punishment. Depending on the training protocol distinct aspects of forgetting can be studied, including passive decay and interference.
Website of the collaborative project: http://www.synaptix.ch/