Ben Slater

Laboratory of Cognitive and Translational Neuroscience

Background


I studied a Bachelor's degree (Industrial) in Neuroscience at the University of Leeds
and successfully graduated in 2020 with a 1st.

During my time at Leeds, I undertook a year-long placement with Prof. Christopher Petkov at Newcastle University, where I delved into artificial grammar learning in nonhuman primates.

Upon graduating, I was fortunate enough to secure funding with the BBSRC Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham Doctoral Training Programme, and began my PhD in September 2020 at Newcastle University joint with Durham University.

I have a strong interest in the neurobiology of behaviour, and the aim of my PhD is to understand how the brain learns and makes decisions under different contextual situations.


For more information, please email me.


The focus of my PhD is on the causal neural mechanisms involved in decision making, specifically, the translatability of sequence learning during context-dependent memory across several species.

Since starting my PhD, I have developed a paradigm that can be analogously used across several species, including rats, marmosets, macaques and humans. The task transitions from real-world object exploration with the smaller species (rats and marmosets), to more abstract and complicated contextual learning on touchscreens with the larger species (macaques and humans).

In addition to identifying the ability of each species in being able to learn sequences that span multiple contexts, I am currently exploring the role of the prefrontal-hippocampal circuit during context-dependent memory processing via the use of an innovative technique known as transcranial ultrasound stimulation (TUS). This will allow me to modulate specific brain areas within the prefrontal-hippocampal system and assess their individual role within context-dependent decision making. 

My wider research goal, that I hope to continue after my PhD, is to explore the evolutionary origins and dependence of the hippocampus and frontal systems on context memory and solidify a method for studying inter-species behaviour. This knowledge is highly relevant for humans with frontal or hippocampal cognitive impairment and may also enhance medical understanding concerning disorders that involve maladaptation of memory and cognition.

Newcastle University - Medical School

Durham University - Psychology Dept.

News


I was recently awarded Young Investigator of the Year from EBBS (European Brain and Behaviour Society) to attend FENS24 conference in Vienna later this year.

I had the pleasure of presenting a lecture on Rhythms in the Brain as part of the Holmes Lecture Series at Newcastle University. This lecture series is aimed at children aged 10-14 to encourage an interest in science. The lecture can be viewed on YouTube here.

If you are interested in participating...


Please check out the current experiments running online in the participate section.