Bruce L McNaughton

Picture of Bruce L McNaughton
Distinguished Professor, Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
School of Biological Sciences
Phone: (949) 824-9642
University of California, Irvine
104 Bonney
Mail Code: 3800
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
neurobiology, neural computation, memory mechanisms
Academic Distinctions
Dr Bruce McNaughton received his Ph.D. in Psychology at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia in 1978 under the supervision of Dr. Graham Goddard, one of the pioneers in the study of brain mechanisms of learning and of epilepsy. After several years of postdoctoral study in Oslo and London he joined the faculty at the University of Colorado. In 1990 he moved to the University of Arizona, where he served as the Chair of the Neuroscience Graduate Interdisciplinary Program from 2004 to 2008. He is presently a jointly appointed as Professor of Neuroscience at The Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience in Lethbridge, Alberta. He is author of over 200 research publications on the neurophysiological mechanisms of learning and memory and information coding in the brain. He is the recipient of numerous academic awards for research excellence, including the MERIT and Javitz Awards for research excellence from NIH and, most recently, the Polaris Award from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. He is an elected lifetime member of the The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Throughout his career he has been involved in the development and application of new conceptual approaches and innovative technologies to understanding brain function, and has supervised the PhD or postdoctoral training of over 30 students, many of whom are now successful, independent neuroscientists.
Research Abstract
The main focus of Dr. McNaughton’s research is the physiological and computational basis of cognition, with particular focus on brain mechanisms of memory and spatial orientation and , and on the dynamic interactions among neuronal populations that underlie these phenomena. He has made significant contributions to the understanding of central synaptic plasticity mechanisms underlying memory, spatial information processing in the hippocampal formation and cortex, cortico-hippocampal interactions and memory consolidation, and the aging of the nervous system. In addition, he was the originator of the currently most widely used technology for simultaneous recording from large numbers of single brain cells in behaving animals ('tetrodes'). This advanced technology has opened an unprecedented new window on understanding brain mechanisms of cognitive processing and their disorders due to aging, brain disease, substance abuse, developmental disorders and brain trauma. His current activities focus on theoretical and empirical study of the neural mechanisms underlying spatial orientation, the reactivation of memory traces in the cortex during sleep following learning and the role of this process in memory consolidation and the extraction of semantic knowledge from episodic memory.
Awards and Honors
NATO Post-doctoral Fellow, 1980

MRC (United Kingdom) Post-doctoral Associate, 1981

Elected Associate of The Neurosciences Research
Program, 1996

Visiting Professor, Laboratoire de Physiologie,
Collège de France, March 1999

Founding Member, Center for the Biology of Memory
Norwegian University of Science and Technology,
Trondheim, Norway

Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2001

National Institute of Mental Health, 2001

Elected, Foreign Member, The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (Natural Sciences), 2004 - lifetime

Appointed, Visiting Professor, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, 2005

Recipient of the Bass Award for Excellence in Science, The Society of Neurological Surgeons, 2006

Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Polaris Award, 2008 – 2018

Indiana University Linda and Jack Gill Distinguished Investigator Award, 2013

Elected Fellow, Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, UC Irvine, 2013

Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada 2016
McClelland J.L., McNaughton B.L., Lampinen A.K. (2020). Integration of new information in memory: new insights from a complementary learning systems perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 375 (1799), 20190637. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2019.0637
Moser, E.I., Moser, M.B., and McNaughton, B. (2017) Spatial representation in the hippocampal formation: a history. Nature Neuroscience, 11: 1446-1464.
Mao, D., Kandler, S., McNaughton, B., and Bonin, V. (2017). Sparse, orthogonal population representation of spatial context in the retrosplenial cortex. Nature Communications, 8(243): 1-9.
Schwindel, C.D., Ali, K., McNaughton, B.L., Tatsuno, M. (2014). Long-term recordings improve the detection of weak excitatory–excitatory connections in rat prefrontal cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34(16):5454-5467. PMID: 24741036
McClelland, J.L., McNaughton, B.L. and O'Reilly, R.C. (1995) Why there are complementary learning systems in the hippocampus and neocortex: insights from the successes and failures of connectionist models of learning and memory. Psychological Review, 102:419-457.
McNaughton, B.L. (2010) Cortical hierarchies, sleep, and the extraction of knowledge from memory. Artificial Intelligence, 174:205-214.

Navratilova, Z., Giocomo, L.M., Fellous, J.M., Hasselmo, M.E., and McNaughton, B.L. (2011). Phase Precession and Variable Spatial Scaling in a Periodic Attractor Map Model of Medial Entorhinal Grid Cells with Realistic After-Spike Dynamics. Hippocampus, 22(4):772-789.

Euston, D.R., Gruber, A.J., and McNaughton, B.L. (2012). The role of medial prefrontal cortex in memory and decision making. Neuron, 76(6):1057-1070.
Colgin, L.L., Leutgeb, S., Jezek, K., Leutgeb, J.K., Moser, E.I., McNaughton, B.L., and Moser, M.B. (2010) Attractor-Map Versus Autoassociation Based Attractor Dynamics in the Hippocampal Network. The Journal of Neurophysiol, 104:35-50.
Nieuwenhuis, I.L.C., Takashima, A., Oostenveld, R., McNaughton, B.L., Fernández, G., and Jensen, O. (2012). The Neocortical Network Representing Associative Memory Reorganizes with Time in a Process Engaging the Anterior Temporal Lobe. Cerebral Cortex, 22(11):2622-33.
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