Archibald Byron Macallum Lectureship

The annual Archibald Byron Macallum Lecture is made possible by a bequest to the Department of Physiology, University of Toronto from the Estate of Alexander Douglas Macallum in honour of his father, Archibald Byron Macallum, who was Chairman of this Department from 1891 to 1908.  The Lectureship is awarded each year to a distinguished physiologist.

Previous Lectures: List of Macallum Lectureships.pdf (318.28 KB)



Wednesday May 11th, 2016

Professor Tim Bliss, FRS
National Institute for Medical Research, UK

"Synaptic plasticity and the neural basis of memory"

3:00 pm

Macleod Auditorium
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Please join us for a Reception immediately after the lecture in the Macleod Lobby - ALL WELCOME

Tim Bliss is a neuroscientist whose work has done much to provide a neural explanation for learning and memory. Studying the hippocampus — the memory centre of the brain — Tim showed that the strength of signals between neurons in the brain exhibits a long-term increase following brief but intense activation, a phenomenon known as long-term potentiation (LTP).

Synapses are specialist junctions between nerve cells, where release of a chemical from one nerve cell influences the excitability of its neighbour. Tim’s detailed description of hippocampal LTP, with physiologist Terje Lømo who first noted the phenomenon, confirmed that high-frequency patterns of synaptic firing can induce lasting changes in synaptic strength. LTP is now the most widely studied model of memory storage.

Whilst LTP was discovered in Oslo in the lab of Per Andersen, Tim’s subsequent research into the cellular properties of LTP and its relation to memory was conducted at London’s National Institute for Medical Research. Tim was a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Tim was  one of three recipients of the Brain Prize, awarded by the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation in Denmark on March 1, 2016.  The Brain Prize, which is widely regarded as the “Nobel Prize for neuroscientists,” is awarded annually, and this year Tim shares the one million Euro prize with Drs. Graham Collingridge (Toronto, Canada)  and Richard Morris (Edinburgh, Scotland).

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