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Sheena A. Josselyn

Sheena Josselyn is interested in understanding how the brain encodes, stores and uses information. Understanding how the brain processes information is not only a fundamental goal of neuroscience, but also relevant to many brain information processing disorders, spanning Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. Her research is multi-disciplinary, embracing methods, thinking and traditions from psychology to molecular neuroscience to computational neuroscience. Dr. Josselyn’s is best known for her findings on how (and where) the rodent brain forms memories. Specifically, she found that only a small subset of brain cells (neurons) are necessary for encoding any one given memory. Ablating these cells can essentially “erase” that memory while artificially activating these cells causes memory recall. Dr. Josselyn is interested in how these fundamental processes interact with higher brain processes to mediate consciousness.


Daniel H. Efron Research Award from American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP)

Innovations in Psychopharmacology Award from Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CCNP)

Brenda Milner Lecturer (University of Lethbridge)

Bryan Kolb Lecture in Behavioural Neuroscence (University of Calgary)

Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Brain circuits and cognition Tier I

Relevant Publications

Rashid AS, Yan C, Mercaldo V, Hsiang HW, Park S, Cole CJ, De Cristofaro A, Yu J, Ramakrishnan C, Lee SY, Deisseroth K, Frankland PW*, Josselyn SA* (2016). Competition between engrams influences fear memory formation and recall. Science, 353, 383-7.

Han JH, Kushner SA, Yiu AP, Cole CA, Matynia A, Brown RA, Neve R, Guzowski JF, Silva AJ & Josselyn SA (2007). Neuronal competition and selection during memory formation. Science, 316, 457-460.

Han JH, Kushner SA, Yiu AP, Hsiang HL, Buch T, Waisman A, Bontempi B, Neve RL, Frankland PW & Josselyn SA (2009) Selective erasure of a fear memory. Science, 323, 1492-1496.

Hsiang HL, Epp JR, Van den Oever MC, Yan C, Rashid AJ, Insel N, Ye L, Niibori Y, Deisseroth K, Frankland PW & Josselyn SA (2014). Manipulating a “cocaine engram” in mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 34, 14115-14127. (PMID: 25319707).

Josselyn SA, Köhler S & Frankland PW. (2017). Heroes of the engram. Journal of Neuroscience, 37, 4647-4657.



Senior Fellow Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness


Hospital for Sick ChildrenNeurosciences & Mental Health


PhD (Psychology) University of Toronto

MA (Psychology) Queen's University



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