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Sheena A. Josselyn


  • Fellow
  • Brain, Mind & Consciousness




Sheena Josselyn studies how the brain encodes, stores and uses information.

Understanding how the brain processes information is not only a fundamental goal of neuroscience, but also relevant to many brain information processing disorders, spanning Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. Her research is multidisciplinary, embracing methods, thinking and traditions from psychology to molecular neuroscience to computational neuroscience. Josselyn is best known for her findings on how (and where) the rodent brain forms memories. Specifically, she has found that only a small subset of brain cells (neurons) are necessary for encoding any one given memory. Ablating these cells can essentially ‘erase’ that memory, while artificially activating them causes memory recall. Josselyn is interested in how these fundamental processes interact with higher brain processes to mediate consciousness.


  • Daniel H. Efron Research Award from American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Innovations in Psychopharmacology Award from Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Brenda Milner Lecturer (University of Lethbridge)
  • Bryan Kolb Lecturer in Behavioural Neuroscience (University of Calgary)
  • Canada Research Chair (CRC) in brain circuits and cognition Tier I

Relevant Publications

  • Josselyn, S.A., Köhler, S., Frankland, P.W. (2017). Heroes of the engram. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(18), 4647–4657. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0056-17.2017
  • Rashid, A.S., Yan, C., Mercaldo, V., … Josselyn, S. (2016). Competition between engrams influences fear memory formation and recall. Science, 22(353), 383–87. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf0594
  • Hsiang, H.L., Epp, J.R., van den Oever, M.,… Josselyn, S. (2014). Manipulating a “cocaine engram” in mice. Journal of Neuroscience 34(42), 14115–14127. DOI:
  • Han, J.H., Kushner, S.A., Yiu, A.P.,… Josselyn, S. (2009). Selective erasure of a fear memory. Science, 323(5920), 1492–1496. DOI:
  • Han, J.H., Kushner, S.A., Yiu, A.P.,… Josselyn, S. (2007). Neuronal competition and selection during memory formation. Science, 316(5823), 457–60. DOI:

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