11 June 2019
Minas Salib, in the group led by Tim Viney and Peter Somogyi, has discovered a new type of neuronal pathway that may be important in memory. For the encoding and recall of episodic memories, nerve cells in the cerebral cortex are activated in precisely timed sequences. Rhythmicity facilitates the coordination of neuronal activity and these rhythms are detected as oscillations of different frequencies, such as 5–12 Hz theta oscillations. Degradation of these rhythms, such as through neurodegeneration, causes memory deficits. The medial septum, a part of the basal forebrain that innervates the hippocampal formation, contains neurons that fire with a high degree of rhythmicity (HRNs) and others that fire with a low degree of rhythmicity (LRNs). These distinct types of neuron may contribute differentially to the coordination of cortical neuronal activity. Minas and colleagues discovered that GABAergic LRNs preferentially innervate the dentate gyrus and the CA3 area of the hippocampus, regions important for episodic memory. These neurons act in parallel with the HRNs mostly via transient inhibition of inhibitory neurons. A figure from the paper describing these results was chosen to illustrate the front cover of the 5 June issue of Journal of Neuroscience.
1 May 2019
The Department is delighted to congratulate one of our visiting professors, Mark Nelson of the University of Vermont, on his election as a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.
28 February 2019
The Department of Pharmacology at Oxford is delighted to be placed at the top of the world rankings for Pharmacy and Pharmacology according to league tables published this week by QS. The QS World University Rankings by Subject comprise the biggest compilation of international data on higher education ever published.
4 December 2018
At a recent event in the Department of Pharmacology, featuring DPhil and MSC students along with early career researchers, the formation of the Oxford Pharmacology Society (OPS) was announced.
23 October 2018
In the late 1960s Miles Vaughan Williams, a member of the staff in the Oxford Department of Pharmacology and Fellow of Hertford College (1955-85), introduced a novel classification of drugs used to treat cardiac arrhythmias. This scheme has been very widely used around the world and has led to the development of new drugs that have saved countless lives. Our understanding of the control of cardiac rhythm has developed in that time and a group of cardiovascular scientists from Oxford, Cambridge and Beijing led by Associate Professor Ming Lei decided that the time was ripe to modernise the classification and to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Vaughan Williams.