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World Science Festival Salon: Manipulating Memory

Date & Time

Saturday, June 4, 2011
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
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Rosenthal Pavilion

We are our memories, but can they be tampered with? Erased? What are the ethical considerations? Whether enhancing memory for an aging population or inhibiting memories that prevent function, new drugs bring new possibilities for abuse and misuse. Even in their most welcome applications, these drugs raise profound questions about the relationship between the subjective experience of memory and the true nature of what we remember.

Some of the advanced topics which the conversation may explore include: Latest progress in memory research, including the enzyme PKMzeta and memory “erasure,” infusion of the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin, problems of animal models in memory research, and therapeutic implications inherent in these discoveries.

World Science Festival Salons are an opportunity for in-depth conversations with world-leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival’s flagship public programs at a level appropriate for graduate students, postdocs, faculty and particularly well-informed members of the general public.

Related flagship program:
The Unbearable Lightness of Memory
Learn more about all the WSF Salons

This program is a part of The Big, the Small, and the Complex, a Series made possible with the support of The Kavli Prize.

Additional tickets may become available at the door an hour before the program.


  • Julie Burstein

    Julie Burstein is a Peabody Award-winning radio producer, best-selling author, and public speaker who has spent her working life in conversation with highly creative people. More »


  • Cristina Alberini

    Neuroscientist Cristina Alberini, professor in the Departments of Neuroscience, Psychiatry and Structural and Chemical Biology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and has been studying the biological mechanisms of long-term memory for the last 20 years. Her studies explore the biological mechanisms of memory consolidation and reconsolidation, the processes by which newly learned information becomes long-lasting memories, and how memories are modulated and integrated into complex behavioral manifestations. More »
  • Adam Kolber

    Professor of Law Adam Kolber is a professor at Brooklyn Law School where he writes and teaches in the areas of criminal law, health law, bioethics, and neuroethics. He created the Neuroethics & Law Blog in 2005 and taught the first law school course devoted to law and neuroscience in 2006. More »
  • Joseph LeDoux

    Neuroscientist, Author, Musician Joseph LeDoux is a professor of neural science at NYU, director of the Emotional Brain Institute involving NYU and the Nathan Kline Institute, and leads The Amygdaloids, a rock band made up of scientists. Rosanne Cash sings with him on the group's latest CD. More »
  • Lynn Nadel

    Psychologist Focused on the functions of the hippocampus in memory and spatial cognition, Lynn Nadel’s work has led to significant contributions in the study of stress and memory, sleep and memory, memory reconsolidation, and mental retardation observed in Down syndrome. He has helped promulgate two highly influential theories in cognitive neuroscience: the cognitive map theory of hippocampal function and the multiple trace theory of memory. Nadel’s research has been published in over 175 journal articles, chapters, and books, and has been supported by grants from NIMH, NSF, NICHD, NINDS, and several private foundations. More »
  • Elizabeth Phelps

    Cognitive Neuroscientist Elizabeth A. Phelps is the director of the Phelps Lab at the New York University Center for Neuroeconomics. Her laboratory has earned widespread acclaim for its groundbreaking research on how the human brain processes emotion, particularly as it relates to learning, memory and decision-making. More »
  • Todd Sacktor

    Neurologist, Neuroscientist A 1978 Harvard graduate, Todd Sacktor completed his M.D. at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his neurology residency at Columbia University, where he began studying the role of the enzyme protein kinase C (PKC) in the short-term memory of Aplysia (marine snails). More »