School of Biomedical Sciences
The Chinese University of Hong Kong 香港中文大學

A research study led by Prof. Ke Ya, Associate Professor of the School of Biomedical Sciences (SBS) and Prof. Yung Wing-ho, Professor of SBS, CUHK has discovered a new neural architecture in the brain of the fruit fly that facilitates the formation of associative memory. The findings provide a good foundation for understanding memory problems caused by neurodegenerative diseases and help develop effective therapeutic strategies for brain disorders. The results have been published in Current Biology, a world-renowned scientific journal, which can be viewed HERE.

Prof. Ke Ya stated, “Associative learning is the foundation of more complex forms of learning. This circuit architecture, or its working principle, may be preserved and utilised in the brains of higher animals. Therefore, our study has provided a deeper understanding of memory formation in the animal brain. Our results may also inspire researchers in the field of artificial intelligence to design new artificial neural networks that can learn faster and better.”

Prof. Yung Wing-ho said, “Probing what goes wrong with the memory of brain disorder patients relies on an appreciation of the normal process of memory formation. Our discovery of the regulatory mechanism in memory formation may in the future be important for the development of effective therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.”

The study is led by Prof. Ke and Prof. Yung, with contributions by Mr. Qiao Jing-da, Mr. Yang Sheng-xi, postgraduate students of SBS; and Dr. Geng Hong-yan, postdoctoral fellow of SBS. The related coverage by the Communications and Public Relations Office, CUHK can be viewed HERE, whereas the one by CU Medicine is viewable HERE.

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Prof. Ke Ya (right) and Prof. Yung Wing-ho (left)