Benjamin Clark Lab

Director: Benjamin Clark

Recent Grants:

1. Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Neural Representations of Space. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 2017 – 2019. Role: Co-PI with Dr. Derek Hamilton at University of New Mexico.

2. Neural Mechanisms of Spatial Disorientation in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant. 2017 – 2020. Role: PI.

3. The Contributions of Declines in Functional Connectivity to Cognitive Aging, National Institute on Aging, 2016 – 2020. Role: Co-I with Dr. Sara Burke at University of Florida.

Research Interests

  • Neurobiology of spatial orientation, navigation, and memory
  • Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and spatial memory
  • Alcohol exposure and spatial memory
  • High-density electrophysiology in behaving animals
  • Viral-mediated circuit mapping and functional connectivity

Selected Publications

  • Berkowitz LE, Harvey RE, Drake EN, Thompson SM, Clark BJ. (2018). Progressive impairment of directional and spatially precise trajectories by TgF344-Alzhiemer’s disease rats in the Morris water task. Scientific Reports. 8:16153.
  • Clark, B.J., Simmons, C.M., Berkowitz ,L.E., Wilber, A.A. (2018). The retrosplenial-parietal network and reference frame coordination for spatial navigation. Behavioral Neuroscience, 132:416-429.
  • Harvey, R.E., Rutan, S.A., Willey, G.R., Siegel, J.J., Clark, B.J., Yoder, R.M. (2018). Linear self-motion cues support the spatial distribution and stability of hippocampal place cells. Current Biology, 28, 1-8.
  • Pentkowski, N.S., Berkowitz, L.E., Thompson, S.M., Drake, E.N., Olguin, C., Clark, B.J. (2018). Anxiety-like behavior as an early endophenotype in the TgF344-AD rat model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiology of Aging, 61, 169-176.
  • Hernandez, A.R., Reasor, J., Truckenbrod, L.M., Campos, K.T., Federico, Q.P., Fertal, K.E., Lubke, K.M., Johnson, S.A., Clark, B.J., Maurer, A.P., Burke, S.N. (2018). Dissociable effects of advanced age on prefrontal cortical and medial temporal lobe ensemble activity. Neurobiology of Aging, 70, 217-232.
  • Clark BJ, Hong NS, Bettenson DJ, Woolford J, Horwood L, McDonald RJ. (2015) Maintained directional navigation across environments in the Morris water task is dependent on vestibular cues. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, in press.
  • Winter SS*, Clark BJ*, Taube JS. (2015) Disruption of the head direction cell network impairs the parahippocampal grid cell signal. Science, 347(6224):870-874. *Contributed equally.
  • Wilber AA*, Clark BJ*, Forster T, Tatsuno M, McNaughton BL. (2014) Cortical connectivity maps reveal anatomically distinct areas in the parietal cortex of the rat. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 8(146). *Contributed equally.

Lab

Laura Berkowitz – Head direction cells and spatial disorientation in Alzheimer's disease

Tia Donaldson - Limbic system structural change in Alzheimer's disease

Ryan Harvey - Hippocampal place cell mechanisms of spatial memory impairment after prenatal alcohol exposure

Lilliana Sanchez - Prenatal alcohol exposure and memory in object and object-place discrimination

Note: If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies in my laboratory, please contact me (bnjclark@unm.edu). Good GRE scores and academic performance are expected. Emphasis will be placed on research experience, publications/presentations, and letters of reference.