April 6, 2017—A new paper by a team of researchers in LSA's departments of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology (MCDB), physics, and biophysics examines how sleep helps to consolidate memories and even create new knowledge.

Professor Sara Aton, of MCDB, previously shared her team's work with LSA Today:

"Aton has found that sleep is critical for learning new things. When new memories form, the brain changes the structure and function of its neural circuits. Disrupting sleep disrupts those essential brain changes, which matters because sleep actually helps the brain absorb new experiences. For example, people studying new vocabulary words retain the information much better if they sleep within three hours of learning; if they delay sleep, they’ll do worse on the vocab quiz. And baby chickens must sleep in the first few hours after learning to bond with their parent, or else that bond doesn’t form." Read the full story here.

The publication of Aton and her team's work in Nature Communications coincides with Aton's and LSA physicist Michal Zochowski's receipt of a $75,000 Catalyst Grant from the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE).

Click here to view the team's full paper in Nature Communications.