by Stefanie Rudrich
Marketing Manager (Brain Products)
Between June 15 and 17, 2017, several hundreds of scientists attended the Annual Meeting of the German Society for Basic and Applied Psychophysiology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychophysiologie und ihre Anwendung; DGPA), which this year was held in Trier (Germany). Just as in previous years, Brain Products sponsored the Brain Products Young Scientist Award, granted to a young researcher for an outstanding paper. This year’s winner was Dr. Monika Schönauer from the University of Tuebingen (Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology) in Germany.
The award, which is endowed with prize money of 1000 Euros, was awarded to Monika for her publication “Decoding material-specific memory reprocessing during sleep in humans” (Nature Communications 8, Article number: 15404 (2017) doi:10.1038/ncomms15404)
Neuronal learning activity is reactivated during sleep but the dynamics of this reactivation in humans are still poorly understood. Here we use multivariate pattern classification to decode electrical brain activity during sleep and determine what type of images participants had viewed in a preceding learning session. We find significant patterns of learning-related processing during rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) sleep, which are generalizable across subjects. This processing occurs in a cyclic fashion during time windows congruous to critical periods of synaptic plasticity. Its spatial distribution over the scalp and relevant frequencies differ between NREM and REM sleep. Moreover, only the strength of reprocessing in slow-wave sleep influenced later memory performance, speaking for at least two distinct underlying mechanisms between these states. We thus show that memory reprocessing occurs in both NREM and REM sleep in humans and that it pertains to different aspects of the consolidation process.
Congratulations on winning the “Brain Products Young Scientist Award 2017”, Monika, and best wishes for your future!