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Memory and Optogenetic Intervention: Separating the Engram from the EcphorySemon (1921) introduced the engram and the ecphory into memory science. The engram is the neurological memory trace; the ecphory is the process of reactivating the engram in remembering. While the distinction between them is clear in principle, they are difficult to disentangle in practice. Our only access to the engram is via the ecphory. Our understanding of memory has been limited by the inability to intervene into the engram directly. Enter optogenetics. Optogenetic manipulation is exciting because it offers a way to circumvent the ecphory. This experimental tool highlights the importance of methodological advances for spurring progress in neuroscience.
University of Kansas