Mark Sheffield

Assistant Professor
Research Summary
We use optical techniques to measure and manipulate the activity of cells and circuits in the brain involved in the formation and recall of complex memories. We use mice as our animal model, and virtual reality as a platform for learning and memory related tasks. Our goal is to understand how the brain forms and recalls memories at the scale of synapses and dendrites through to the level of large ensembles of neurons and across brain regions.
learning, memory, hippocampus, dendrites, synaptic plasticity, place cells, neuromodulation, contextual fear conditioning, optogenetics, 2-photon
  • University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England, BSc/Msc Neuroscience 06/2006
  • Northwestern University, Evanston, USA, Ph. D. Neurobiology 08/2011
  • Northwestern University, Evanston, USA, Postdoc - Neurobiology 04/2017
Biosciences Graduate Program Association
Awards & Honors
  • 2017 - 2020 Whitehall Foundation
  • 2018 - 2020 Sloan
  • 2018 - 2021 Searle scholars program
  • 2018 - 2023 DP2 - New Innovator Award NIH
  1. Reward expectation extinction restructures and degrades CA1 spatial maps through loss of a dopaminergic reward proximity signal. Nat Commun. 2022 11 04; 13(1):6662. View in: PubMed

  2. Partial connectomes of labeled dopaminergic circuits reveal non-synaptic communication and axonal remodeling after exposure to cocaine. Elife. 2021 12 29; 10. View in: PubMed

  3. Distinct place cell dynamics in CA1 and CA3 encode experience in new environments. Nat Commun. 2021 05 20; 12(1):2977. View in: PubMed

  4. Dendritic mechanisms of hippocampal place field formation. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2019 02; 54:1-11. View in: PubMed

  5. Increased Prevalence of Calcium Transients across the Dendritic Arbor during Place Field Formation. Neuron. 2017 Oct 11; 96(2):490-504.e5. View in: PubMed

  6. The binding solution? Nat Neurosci. 2015 Aug; 18(8):1060-2. View in: PubMed

  7. Calcium transient prevalence across the dendritic arbour predicts place field properties. Nature. 2015 Jan 08; 517(7533):200-4. View in: PubMed

  8. Mechanisms of retroaxonal barrage firing in hippocampal interneurons. J Physiol. 2013 Oct 01; 591(19):4793-805. View in: PubMed

  9. Slow integration leads to persistent action potential firing in distal axons of coupled interneurons. Nat Neurosci. 2011 Feb; 14(2):200-7. View in: PubMed