Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Interdisciplinary Programs

First Committee Member

James Hyman

Second Committee Member

Jefferson Kinney

Third Committee Member

Joel Snyder

Fourth Committee Member

Colleen Parks

Number of Pages



The electrophysiological properties of the hippocampus (HC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) are the central focus of research on learning, memory, and neurological disease. Previous research has shown that HC is essential for forming new memories, spatial navigation, and temporal processing. While the function of ACC, located within the medial prefrontal cortex, remains controversial, it has a role in long-term memory recall, processing pain, monitoring current state, learning, schema updates, and information integrations. Interactions between the ACC and HC occur during social memory, spatial working memory performance, and long-term memory recall. Notably, the HC and ACC are among the first brain areas to exhibit changes relating to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The two core pathologies of AD are beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, but recently a third pathology has been identified as chronic neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation is commonly observed in neurological diseases but can also occur in prolonged hyperglycemia and type II diabetes (DM2). Interestingly, DM2 is associated with impaired cognition, which manifests in learning, memory, and spatial processing deficits. DM2 is quite common in the United States, and patients with DM2 are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with AD later in life. This dissertation focuses on three experiments that aim to identify normal brain states across animal species in learning, diseases, and genetic alterations. First, we applied learning algorithms to the state space of neuronal ensembles in the ACC while animals updated their predictions on reward frequency. Next, we investigate how reduced GABAb receptors on neuroglia impair hippocampal and neural system communication. Lastly, we utilized a rodent model of DM2 to examine if alterations in the ACC- hippocampal network are similar to changes found in the early stages of AD. These studies represent the findings from numerous experimental approaches across multiple neuroscience laboratories.


Medical Neurobiology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Neurosciences

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit