Dr. Cai joined the department of Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 2017 as an Assistant Professor. Her lab focuses on basic learning and memory mechanisms as well as their disorders. She obtained her PhD in Experimental Psychology & Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied the role of sleep in memory in humans and mice. Pror to joining the faculty at Mount Sinai, Dr. Cai was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, where her research focused on how memories are formed and linked across time. She was also was one of the lead developers of Miniscopes, an open-source miniature microscope system for calcium imaging in freely behaving animals. At the Icahn School of Medicine, Dr. Cai's team investigates the temporal dynamics of how memories are formed, integrated and separated. In addition, her team studies how aging contributes to cognitive decline. Her lab leverages a multi-level approach, including in vivo imaging, activity-dependent tagging, optogenetics, chemogenetics and behavioral assays.
PhD, University of California, San Diego
University of California, Los Angeles
Arnold Scheibel Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
National Institute of Mental Health
Ruth L. Kirschstein Post-Doctoral National Research Service Award
University of California, San Diego
Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Collaboratory Award
Behavior, In Vivo Imaging, Learning & Memory, Cognitive Disorders, Hippocampus, Age-related Cognitive Deficits, Anxiety-related Disorders, Optogenetics, Chemogenetics, Activity-dependent Tagging
Zhou M, Greenhill S, Huang S, Silva TK, Sano Y, Wu S, Cai Y, Nagaoka Y, Sehgal M, Cai DJ, Lee YS, Fox K, Silva AJ. CCR5 is a suppressor for cortical plasticity and hippocampal learning and memory. eLife 2016 Dec; 5.
Rogerson T, Jayaprakash B, Cai DJ, Sano Y, Lee YS, Zhou Y, Bekal P, Deisseroth K, Silva AJ. Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms for Trapping and Activating Emotional Memories. PloS one 2016; 11(8).
Cai DJ, Aharoni D, Shuman T, Shobe J, Biane J, Song W, Wei B, Veshkini M, La-Vu M, Lou J, Flores SE, Kim I, Sano Y, Zhou M, Baumgaertel K, Lavi A, Kamata M, Tuszynski M, Mayford M, Golshani P, Silva AJ. A shared neural ensemble links distinct contextual memories encoded close in time. Nature 2016 06; 534(7605).
Kastellakis G, Cai DJ, Mednick SC, Silva AJ, Poirazi P. Synaptic clustering within dendrites: an emerging theory of memory formation. Progress in neurobiology 2015 Mar; 126.
Sano Y, Shobe JL, Zhou M, Huang S, Shuman T, Cai DJ, Golshani P, Kamata M, Silva AJ. CREB regulates memory allocation in the insular cortex. Current biology : CB 2014 Dec; 24(23).
Rogerson T, Cai DJ, Frank A, Sano Y, Shobe J, Lopez-Aranda MF, Silva AJ. Synaptic tagging during memory allocation. Nature reviews. Neuroscience 2014 Mar; 15(3).
Shuman T, Cai DJ, Sage JR, Anagnostaras SG. Interactions between modafinil and cocaine during the induction of conditioned place preference and locomotor sensitization in mice: implications for addiction. Behavioural brain research 2012 Dec; 235(2).
Mednick SC, Cai DJ, Shuman T, Anagnostaras S, Wixted JT. An opportunistic theory of cellular and systems consolidation. Trends in neurosciences 2011 Oct; 34(10).
Anagnostaras SG, Wood SC, Shuman T, Cai DJ, Leduc AD, Zurn KR, Zurn JB, Sage JR, Herrera GM. Automated assessment of pavlovian conditioned freezing and shock reactivity in mice using the video freeze system. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience 2010; 4.
Rieth CA, Cai DJ, McDevitt EA, Mednick SC. The role of sleep and practice in implicit and explicit motor learning. Behavioural brain research 2010 Dec; 214(2).
Cai DJ, Rickard TC. Reconsidering the role of sleep for motor memory. Behavioral neuroscience 2009 Dec; 123(6).
Cai DJ, Shuman T, Harrison EM, Sage JR, Anagnostaras SG. Sleep deprivation and Pavlovian fear conditioning. Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) 2009 Oct; 16(10).
Cai DJ, Shuman T, Gorman MR, Sage JR, Anagnostaras SG. Sleep selectively enhances hippocampus-dependent memory in mice. Behavioral neuroscience 2009 Aug; 123(4).
Cai DJ, Mednick SA, Harrison EM, Kanady JC, Mednick SC. REM, not incubation, improves creativity by priming associative networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2009 Jun; 106(25).
Mednick SC, Makovski T, Cai DJ, Jiang YV. Sleep and rest facilitate implicit memory in a visual search task. Vision research 2009 Oct; 49(21).
Rickard TC, Cai DJ, Rieth CA, Jones J, Ard MC. Sleep does not enhance motor sequence learning. Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition 2008 Jul; 34(4).
Mednick SC, Cai DJ, Kanady J, Drummond SP. Comparing the benefits of caffeine, naps and placebo on verbal, motor and perceptual memory. Behavioural brain research 2008 Nov; 193(1).
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Dr.Cai did not report having any of the following types of financial relationships with industry during 2017 and/or 2018: consulting, scientific advisory board, industry-sponsored lectures, service on Board of Directors, participation on industry-sponsored committees, equity ownership valued at greater than 5% of a publicly traded company or any value in a privately held company. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.
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