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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

Scott, K. J., Tashakori-Sabzevar, F., & Bilkey, D. K. (2021). Maternal immune activation alters the sequential structure of ultrasonic communications in male rats. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity: Health, 16, 100304. doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100304

Seo, S., Sizemore, R. J., Reader, K. L., Smither, R. A., Wicky, H. E., Hughes, S. M., Bilkey, D. K., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Oorschot, D. E. (2021). A schizophrenia risk factor induces marked anatomical deficits at GABAergic-dopaminergic synapses in the rat ventral tegmental area: Essential evidence for new targeted therapies. Journal of Comparative Neurology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/cne.25225

Meighan, W., Elston, T. W., Bilkey, D., & Ward, R. D. (2021). Impaired discrimination of a subanesthetic dose of ketamine in a maternal immune activation model of schizophrenia risk. Journal of Psychopharmacology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/02698811211029739

Croy, E., Elston, T. W., & Bilkey, D. K. (2021). Anterior cingulate cortex and ventral tegmental area activity during cost-benefit decision-making following maternal immune activation. Schizophrenia Bulletin Open. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/schizbullopen/sgab023

Bilkey, D. K., & Jensen, C. (2021). Neural markers of event boundaries. Topics in Cognitive Science, 13(1), 128-141. doi: 10.1111/tops.12470

Bilkey, D. K. (2008). Neocortical influences on hippocampal place cells. In S. J. Y. Mizumori (Ed.), Hippocampal place fields: Relevance to learning and memory. (pp. 253-270). Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195323245.003.0019

Chapter in Book - Research

Dragunow, M., & Bilkey, D. (2002). Neuroanatomical and functional mapping using activation of transcription factors. In L. Kaczmarek & H. A. Robertson (Eds.), The Handbook of Chemical Neuroanatomy, 19 - Immediate Early Genes and Inducible Transcription Factors in Mapping of the Central Nervous System Function and Dysfunction. (pp. 39-44). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Chapter in Book - Research

Bilkey, D. K., & Jensen, C. (2021). Neural markers of event boundaries. Topics in Cognitive Science, 13(1), 128-141. doi: 10.1111/tops.12470

Journal - Research Article

Croy, E., Elston, T. W., & Bilkey, D. K. (2021). Anterior cingulate cortex and ventral tegmental area activity during cost-benefit decision-making following maternal immune activation. Schizophrenia Bulletin Open. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/schizbullopen/sgab023

Journal - Research Article

Meighan, W., Elston, T. W., Bilkey, D., & Ward, R. D. (2021). Impaired discrimination of a subanesthetic dose of ketamine in a maternal immune activation model of schizophrenia risk. Journal of Psychopharmacology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/02698811211029739

Journal - Research Article

Scott, K. J., Tashakori-Sabzevar, F., & Bilkey, D. K. (2021). Maternal immune activation alters the sequential structure of ultrasonic communications in male rats. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity: Health, 16, 100304. doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100304

Journal - Research Article

Seo, S., Sizemore, R. J., Reader, K. L., Smither, R. A., Wicky, H. E., Hughes, S. M., Bilkey, D. K., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Oorschot, D. E. (2021). A schizophrenia risk factor induces marked anatomical deficits at GABAergic-dopaminergic synapses in the rat ventral tegmental area: Essential evidence for new targeted therapies. Journal of Comparative Neurology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/cne.25225

Journal - Research Article

Butz, M. V., Achimova, A., Bilkey, D., & Knott, A. (2020). Event-predictive cognition: From sensorimotor via conceptual to language-based structures and processes [Editors' review and introduction]. Topics in Cognitive Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/tops.12522

Journal - Research Article

Sutherland, C. J., & Bilkey, D. K. (2020). Hippocampal coding of conspecific position. Brain Research, 1745, 146920. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2020.146920

Journal - Research Article

Butz, M. V., Bilkey, D., Humaidan, D., Knott, A., & Otte, S. (2019). Learning, planning, and control in a monolithic neural event inference architecture. Neural Networks, 117, 135-144. doi: 10.1016/j.neunet.2019.05.001

Journal - Research Article

Elston, T. W., Croy, E., & Bilkey, D. K. (2019). Communication between the anterior cingulate cortex and ventral tegmental area during a cost-benefit reversal task. Cell Reports, 26(9), 2353-2361.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.01.113

Journal - Research Article

Jackson, C. M., Jackson, J. C., Bilkey, D., Jong, J., & Halberstadt, J. (2019). The dynamic emergence of minimal groups. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 22(7), 921-929. doi: 10.1177/1368430218802636

Journal - Research Article

Porter, B. S., Hillman, K. L., & Bilkey, D. K. (2019). Anterior cingulate cortex encoding of effortful behavior. Journal of Neurophysiology, 121, 701-714. doi: 10.1152/jn.00654.2018

Journal - Research Article

Zhang, J., Jing, Y., Zhang, H., Bilkey, D. K., & Liu, P. (2019). Maternal immune activation altered microglial immunoreactivity in the brain of postnatal day 2 rat offspring. Synapse, 73, e22072. doi: 10.1002/syn.22072

Journal - Research Article

Bates, V., Maharajan, A., Millar, J., Bilkey, D. K., & Ward, R. D. (2018). Spared motivational modulation of cognitive effort in a maternal immune activation model of schizophrenia risk. Behavioral Neuroscience, 132(1), 66-74. doi: 10.1037/bne0000230

Journal - Research Article

Elston, T. W., Kalhan, S., & Bilkey, D. K. (2018). Conflict and adaptation signals in the anterior cingulate cortex and ventral tegmental area. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 11732. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30203-4

Journal - Research Article

Jackson, J. C., Jong, J., Bilkey, D., Whitehouse, H., Zollmann, S., McNaughton, C., & Halberstadt, J. (2018). Synchrony and physiological arousal Increase cohesion and cooperation in large naturalistic groups. Scientific Reports, 8, 127. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18023-4

Journal - Research Article

Porter, B. S., Schmidt, R., & Bilkey, D. K. (2018). Hippocampal place cell encoding of sloping terrain. Hippocampus, 28(1), 767-782. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22966

Journal - Research Article

Zhang, J., Jing, Y., Zhang, H., Bilkey, D. K., & Liu, P. (2018). Effects of maternal immune activation on brain arginine metabolism of postnatal day 2 rat offspring. Schizophrenia Research, 192, 431-441. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2017.05.016

Journal - Research Article

Zhang, J., Jing, Y., Zhang, H., Bilkey, D. K., & Liu, P. (2018). Maternal immune activation leads to increased nNOS immunoreactivity in the brain of postnatal day 2 rat offspring. Synapse, 72(1), e22011. doi: 10.1002/syn.22011

Journal - Research Article

Bilkey, D. K., Cheyne, K. R., Eckert, M. J., Lu, X., Chowdhury, S., Worley, P. F., … Abraham, W. C. (2017). Exposure to complex environments results in more sparse representations of space in the hippocampus. Hippocampus, 27(11), 1178-1191. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22762

Journal - Research Article

Deane, A. R., Millar, J., Bilkey, D. K., & Ward, R. D. (2017). Maternal immune activation in rats produces temporal perception impairments in adult offspring analogous to those observed in schizophrenia. PLoS ONE, 12(11), e0187719. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187719

Journal - Research Article

Elston, T. W., & Bilkey, D. K. (2017). Anterior cingulate cortex modulation of the ventral tegmental area in an effort task. Cell Reports, 19(11), 2220-2230. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.05.062

Journal - Research Article

Jackson, J. C., Bilkey, D., Jong, J., Rossignac-Milon, M., & Halberstadt, J. (2017). Strangers in a stadium: Studying group dynamics with in vivo behavioral tracking. Social Psychological & Personality Science, 8(5), 509-518. doi: 10.1177/1948550617709112

Journal - Research Article

Jackson, J. C., Lemay, Jr, E. P., Bilkey, D., & Halberstadt, J. (2017). Beyond “birds of a feather”: A social inference approach to attachment-dependent grouping. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 73, 216-221. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2017.06.004

Journal - Research Article

Millar, J., Bilkey, D. K., & Ward, R. D. (2017). Maternal immune activation alters sensitivity to action-outcome contingency in adult rat offspring. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity, 63, 81-87. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2016.08.020

Journal - Research Article

Morgan, K., Ruffman, T., Bilkey, D. K., & McLennan, I. S. (2017). Circulating anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) associates with the maturity of boys' drawings: Does AMH slow cognitive development in males? Endocrine, 57(3), 528-534. doi: 10.1007/s12020-017-1333-2

Journal - Research Article

Munn, R. G. K., Hardcastle, K., Porter, B., & Bilkey, D. (2017). Circadian-scale periodic bursts in theta and gamma-band coherence between hippocampus, cingulate and insular cortices. Neurobiology of Sleep & Circadian Rhythms, 3, 26-37. doi: 10.1016/j.nbscr.2017.04.001

Journal - Research Article

Halberstadt, J., Jackson, J. C., Bilkey, D., Jong, J., Whitehouse, H., McNaughton, C., & Zollmann, S. (2016). Incipient social groups: An analysis via in-vivo behavioral tracking. PLoS ONE, 11(3), e0149880. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149880

Journal - Research Article

Liu, P., Jing, Y., Collie, N. D., Dean, B., Bilkey, D. K., & Zhang, H. (2016). Altered brain arginine metabolism in schizophrenia. Translational Psychiatry, 6, e871. doi: 10.1038/tp.2016.144

Journal - Research Article

Munn, R. G. K., Tyree, S. M., McNaughton, N., & Bilkey, D. K. (2015). The frequency of hippocampal theta rhythm is modulated on a circadian period and is entrained by food availability. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 9, 61. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00061

Journal - Research Article

Wolff, A. R., & Bilkey, D. K. (2015). Prenatal immune activation alters hippocampal place cell firing characteristics in adult animals. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity, 48, 232-243. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.03.012

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

Journal - Research Article

Dickerson, D. D., & Bilkey, D. K. (2013). Aberrant neural synchrony in the maternal immune activation model: Using translatable measures to explore targeted interventions. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 217. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00217

Journal - Research Article

Jing, Y., Zhang, H., Wolff, A. R., Bilkey, D. K., & Liu, P. (2013). Altered arginine metabolism in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of maternal immune activation rat offspring. Schizophrenia Research, 148(1-3), 151-156. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.06.001

Journal - Research Article

Oorschot, D. E., Voss, L., Covey, M. V., Goddard, L., Huang, W., Birchall, P., Bilkey, D. K., & Kohe, S. E. (2013). Spectrum of short- and long-term brain pathology and long-term behavioral deficits in male repeated hypoxic rats closely resembling human extreme prematurity. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(29), 11863-11877. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.0342-12.2013

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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., 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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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