Sara Aton, Ph.D.

Michigan Neuroscience Institute Affiliate
Associate Professor of Department of Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology

4268 Biological Sciences Building


Areas of Interest

The consolidation of recent experiences into long-term memories is a fundamental function of the brain and critical for survival. Consolidation is linked to plastic changes at synapses between neurons. However, very little is known about how this plasticity is brought about by ongoing activity in neuronal networks and how different brain states (e.g., sleep and waking) contribute to the consolidation process. We study how neuronal and network activity in sleeping and awake brain states contributes to plasticity following novel sensory experiences. By combining behavioral, biochemical, electrophysiological, and optogenetic techniques, we study the effects of waking experiences and sleep on neural circuits in the rodent brain.

Honors & Awards

  • Alfred P Sloan Foundation Fellow (2013)
  • NIH New Innovator Award (2013)
  • Kavli Fellow, Kavli US Frontiers of Science Symposium, Kavli Foundation and National Academy of Science (2015, 2018, 2020)
  • Young Investigator Award, Human Frontiers Science Program (2017)

Published Articles or Reviews

  •  Delorme J, Wang L, Kodoth V, Wang Y, Ma J, Jiang S, Aton SJ (2021) Hippocampal neurons’ cytosolic and membrane-bound ribosomal transcript profiles are differentially regulated by learning and subsequent sleep. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118 (48) e2108534118
  • Delorme J, Wang L, Kodoth V, Wang Y, Ma J, Martinez J, Raven F, Toth BA, Balendran V, Jiang S, Aton SJ (2021)  Sleep loss drives acetylcholine- and somatostatin interneuron-mediated gating of hippocampal activity, to inhibit memory consolidation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118 (32), DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2019318118  
  • Puentes-Mestril C, Delorme J, Wang L, Donnelly M, Popke D, Jiang S, Aton SJ (2021) Sleep loss drives brain region- and cell type-specific alterations in ribosome-associated transcripts involved in synaptic plasticity and cellular timekeeping. Journal of Neuroscience, 41(25): 5386-98.  DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1883-20.2021 
  • Clawson BC, Pickup EJ, Enseng A, Geneseo L, Shaver J, Gonzalez-Amoretti J, Zhao M, York K, Kuhn FR, Swift K, Martinez JD, Wang L, Jiang S, Aton SJ (2021)  Causal role for sleep-dependent reactivation of learning-activated sensory ensembles for fear memory consolidation. Nature Communications, 12: 1200. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21471-2

Web Sites