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Professor David Bilkey

David BilkeyProfessor David Bilkey’s general research area is systems neuroscience, with a particular focus on the role of the temporal cortex regions of the brain in memory and learning processes.

Professor Bilkey received a PhD from the University of Otago in 1987. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, in 1988 he returned to Otago as a lecturer. He is a past recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, has served on several major funding panels and is actively involved in promoting science in schools. Currently, he is the Director of the Brain Health Research Centre.

Recently, he has been using an animal model of schizophrenia to investigate how the function of the hippocampus is altered in this disorder. He is looking at the biological basis of memory by “tagging” episodic memories attached to particular moments and noting how the brain encodes an episodic memory. His lab has focused on the hippocampal region of the brain, which appears to process “where” information and the neighbouring perirhinal cortex, which appears to encode “what”. Given there is connectivity between the hippocampus and this neighbouring cortex, they have hypothesised that an episodic memory is created when hippocampal-based place information is combined with perirhinal-based object information.

How the brain combines information from different locations to form a coherent memory is a logical next step for research. Professor Bilkey proposes that the prefrontal cortex has a role in integrating this information with prior experience and motivation and he is currently testing this hypothesis using a variety of behavioral and electrophysiological techniques.

These projects will help clarify how the brain melds place and object information, which is distributed across different brain areas, into a coherent memory. At a higher level, it will inform us as to why place information seems to be such an important component of episodic memory. His research is funded by the Health Research Council and Marsden Fund.


Find out more about Professor Bilkey’s research.

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Publications

Hillman, K. L., & Bilkey, D. K. (2012). Neural encoding of competitive effort in the anterior cingulate cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 15(9), 1290-1298. doi: 10.1038/nn.3187

Douglas, K. M., & Bilkey, D. K. (2007). Amusia is associated with deficits in spatial processing. Nature Neuroscience, 10(7), 915-921. doi: 10.1038/nn1925

Dickerson, D. D., Wolff, A. R., & Bilkey, D. K. (2010). Abnormal long-range neural synchrony in a maternal immune activation animal model of schizophrenia. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(37), 12424-12431. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3046-10.2010

Hillman, K. L., & Bilkey, D. K. (2010). Neurons in the rat anterior cingulate cortex dynamically encode cost-benefit in a spatial decision-making task. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(22), 7705-7713. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1273-10.2010

Clearwater, J. M., & Bilkey, D. K. (2012). Place, space, and taste: Combining context and spatial information in a hippocampal navigation system. Hippocampus, 22(3), 442-454. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20911

Journal - Research Article

Dickerson, D. D., Overeem, K. A., Wolff, A. R., Williams, J. M., Abraham, W. C., & Bilkey, D. K. (2014). Association of aberrant neural synchrony and altered GAD67 expression following exposure to maternal immune activation, a risk factor for schizophrenia. Translational Psychiatry, 4, e418. doi: 10.1038/tp.2014.64

Savanthrapadian, S., Wolff, A. R., Logan, B. J., Eckert, M. J., Bilkey, D. K., & Abraham, W. C. (2013). Enhanced hippocampal neuronal excitability and LTP persistence associated with reduced behavioral flexibility in the maternal immune activation model of schizophrenia. Hippocampus, 23(12), 1395-1409. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22193

Dickerson, D. D., Restieaux, A. M., & Bilkey, D. K. (2012). Clozapine administration ameliorates disrupted long-range synchrony in a neurodevelopmental animal model of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 135, 112-115. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.12.016

Hillman, K. L., & Bilkey, D. K. (2012). Neural encoding of competitive effort in the anterior cingulate cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 15(9), 1290-1298. doi: 10.1038/nn.3187

Munn, R. G. K., & Bilkey, D. K. (2012). The firing rate of hippocampal CA1 place cells is modulated with a circadian period. Hippocampus, 22, 1325-1337. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20969

Clearwater, J. M., & Bilkey, D. K. (2012). Place, space, and taste: Combining context and spatial information in a hippocampal navigation system. Hippocampus, 22(3), 442-454. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20911

Wolff, A. R., Cheyne, K. R., & Bilkey, D. K. (2011). Behavioural deficits associated with maternal immune activation in the rat model of schizophrenia. Behavioural Brain Research, 225, 382-387. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.07.033

Morgan, K., Meredith, J., Kuo, J.-Y. A., Bilkey, D. K., & McLennan, I. S. (2011). The sex bias in novelty preference of preadolescent mouse pups may require testicular Müllerian inhibiting substance. Behavioural Brain Research, 221(1), 304-306. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.02.048

Morgan, K., Dennis, N. A., Ruffman, T., Bilkey, D. K., & McLennan, I. S. (2011). The stature of boys is inversely correlated to the levels of their Sertoli cell hormones: Do the testes restrain the maturation of boys? PLoS ONE, 6(6), e20533. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020533

Lu, X., & Bilkey, D. K. (2010). The velocity-related firing property of hippocampal place cells is dependent on self-movement. Hippocampus, 20(5), 573-583. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20666

Dickerson, D. D., Wolff, A. R., & Bilkey, D. K. (2010). Abnormal long-range neural synchrony in a maternal immune activation animal model of schizophrenia. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(37), 12424-12431. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3046-10.2010

Eckert, M. J., Bilkey, D. K., & Abraham, W. C. (2010). Altered plasticity in hippocampal CA1, but not dentate gyrus, following long-term environmental enrichment. Journal of Neurophysiology, 103(6), 3320-3329. doi: 10.1152/jn.01037.2009

Wolff, A. R., & Bilkey, D. K. (2010). The maternal immune activation (MIA) model of schizophrenia produces pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) deficits in both juvenile and adult rats but these effects are not associated with maternal weight loss. Behavioural Brain Research, 213, 323-327. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2010.05.008

Hillman, K. L., & Bilkey, D. K. (2010). Neurons in the rat anterior cingulate cortex dynamically encode cost-benefit in a spatial decision-making task. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(22), 7705-7713. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1273-10.2010

Nerad, L., Liu, P., & Bilkey, D. K. (2009). Bilateral NMDA lesions centered on the postrhinal cortex have minimal effects on hippocampal place cell firing. Hippocampus, 19(3), 221-227. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20517

Taylor, C. J., Ireland, D. R., Ballagh, I., Bourne, K., Marechal, N. M., Turner, P. R., Bilkey, D. K., Tate, W. P., & Abraham, W. C. (2008). Endogenous secreted amyloid precursor protein-α regulates hippocampal NMDA receptor function, long-term potentiation and spatial memory. Neurobiology of Disease, 31(2), 250-260. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2008.04.011

Wolff, A. R., & Bilkey, D. K. (2008). Immune activation during mid-gestation disrupts sensorimotor gating in rat offspring. Behavioural Brain Research, 190(1), 156-159. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.02.021

Bilkey, D. K. (2007). Space and context in the temporal cortex. Hippocampus, 17, 813-825. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20318

Douglas, K. M., & Bilkey, D. K. (2007). Amusia is associated with deficits in spatial processing. Nature Neuroscience, 10(7), 915-921. doi: 10.1038/nn1925

Oorschot, D. E., Voss, L., Covey, M. V., Bilkey, D. K., & Saunders, S. E. (2007). ADHD-like hyperactivity, with no attention deficit, in adult rats after repeated hypoxia during the equivalent of extreme prematurity. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 166, 315-322.

Futter, J. E., Davies, M., Bilkey, D. K., & Aggleton, J. P. (2006). The effects of cytotoxic perirhinal cortex lesions on spatial learning by rats: A comparison of the Dark Agouti and Sprague-Dawley strains. Behavioral Neuroscience, 120, 150-161.

Russell, N. A., Horii, A., Smith, P. F., Darlington, C. L., & Bilkey, D. K. (2006). Lesions of the vestibular system disrupt hippocampal theta rhythm in the rat. Journal of Neurophysiology, 96, 4-14.

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