Maria Shippi

Maria Shippi

Research Interests

I am extremely interested in the use of computational models in cognitive neuroscience.

From a biological perspective, I am currious to understand how neuronal proceses give rise to cognitive functions such as memory, attention, problem solving and decision makinge. What puzzles me the most is the incredible ability of humans and animals to build new memories for a long period of time. What are the underlying mechanisms which make a memory to be stored for long period of time and which brain areas store these long term memories. Other related questions include the explanation of why some memories last only for a short period of time while others for a life time? What are the parameters that influence the decision of which memories will be stored for a short period of time, and which memories are stored for a long period of time. Do previous expiriences and attention influence the selection of our future long term memories? Does sleep effects the selection of which memories will be stored in long term? These questions address very complicated issues and they need an interdisciplinary approached to be approached including studies in a molecular and cellular level, systems level and the behavioral level.

Coming though from a computer science background, I am extremely fascinating in using mathematical models to describe cognitive functions that occur in biology and implemented these mathematical models in the form of computer programs, which translate abstract mathematics into explicit simulations of the biological experiments. Using computational models in neuroscience, can not only lead to further predictions that can guide further experimental work but can also reveal possible answers to questions that are difficult to addressed biologically.

In my opinion, expiriencing both biological and computational studies leads to a better understanding of how these two different areas should be combined together in order to lead to biologically realistic results. Thus, through my PhD, I aim to work with both, experiments and computational models in order to discover the mechanisms for long term memory and the influence of the prior knowledge in that processes.