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 Principal Investigators

Mortimer Mishkin, Ph.D.
Mortimer Mishkin Photo   Dr. Mishkin is Chief of the Section on Cognitive Neuroscience in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology, NIMH. He received an A.B. from Dartmouth College (1946) and an M.A. (1949) and Ph.D. (1951) from McGill University. His master's thesis was directed by D. O. Hebb, and his Ph.D. thesis, performed at Yale University, was directed jointly by H.E. Rosvold and K.H. Pribram. In 1955, after completing his postdoctoral research with both Pribram at the Institute of Living and H.-L. Teuber at Bellevue Medical Center, he moved to NIMH as an Investigator. Dr. Mishkin served as Chief of the Laboratory of Neuropsychology from 1980 to 1997 and was Associate Director for Basic Research in the NIMH/IRP from 1994 to 1997. He is currently Acting Chief of the Laboratory of Neuropsychology and his section within it explores the neurobiological mechanisms of perception and memory.
Research Interests
The Section uses a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms underlying learning and memory in primates. In monkeys, the approach involves: (a) utilizing metabolic mapping techniques, including both autoradiography and neuroimaging, to delineate the cerebral territory belonging to a particular functional neural system; (b) studying the effects of selective lesions within that territory on the performance of specially designed learning and memory tasks in various sensory modalities, in the attempt to separate and identify different mnemonic functions and localize their critical neural substrates; (c) applying anatomical tracing techniques, to reveal how the different substrates belonging to a functional family are organized as components of a neural system or circuit; (d) recording electrophysiological activity within the identified substrates, to determine the nature of the information those neurons receive and transmit before, during, and after learning; and (e) injecting pharmacological agents into those same substrates, to relate the learning-dependent changes in behavior and neuronal activity to the underlying cellular and synaptic mechanisms. The learning and memory mechanisms uncovered in the research on monkeys serves as the basis for a search for homologous mechanisms in brain-damaged patients examined both neuropsychologically and with quantitative magnetic resonance techniques. (The research on patients is conducted in collaboration with a team at the University College London, Institute of Child Health.)
Representative Selected Recent Publications:
  • Brandt, K.R., Gardiner, J.M., Vargha-Khadem F., Baddeley, A.D., and Mishkin, M.  Impairment of recollection but not familiarity in a case of developmental amnesia.  Neurocase 15: 60-65, 2009.
  • Turchi, J., Buffalari D., and Mishkin, M. Double dissociation of pharmacologically induced deficits in visual recognition and visual discrimination learning. Learning and Memory 15: 565-568, 2008.
  • Poremba, A. and Mishkin, M. Exploring the extent and function of higher-order auditory cortex in rhesus monkeys.  Hearing Res. 229:14-23, 2007. 
  • de Haan, M., Mishkin, M., Baldeweg, T., and Vargha-Khadem, F.  Human memory development and its dysfunction after early hippocampal injury.  Trends Neurosci. 29: 374-381, 2006.
  • Fritz, J., Mishkin, M., and Saunders, R.C.  In search of an auditory engram.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 102: 9359-9364, 2005.
  • Turchi, J., Saunders, R.C., and Mishkin, M. Effects of cholinergic deafferentation of the rhinal cortex on visual recognition in monkeys. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102:2158-2161, 2005.
Cognitive Neuroscience Section
Laboratory of Neuropsychology NIMH
Building 49, Room 1B80
49 Convent Drive, MSC 4415
Bethesda, MD 20892-4415
Phone: 301-443-7478
Email Dr. Mishkin
Fax: 301-402-0046
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This page was last updated April 1, 2013.

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