Marta Sabariego is interested in the neural circuits of emotion and memory at the systems level. In particular, Sabariego investigates the mechanisms that support recovery and adaptation from situations involving surprising reward loss and how these life events affect cognitive processes, in particular memory. These questions are addressed by recording many neurons in the brain simultaneously and by testing how their activity is coordinated before, during, and after reward devaluation. The recording methods are complemented by behavioral, histological analysis of brain tissue and stereotaxic neurosurgery techniques that allow us to manipulate the activity of neuronal networks and to test whether the identified mechanisms are involved in emotional and cognitive processes. Revealing the function of neural circuits for psychological pain and memory, including the function of partially damaged circuits, is a critical step for developing treatments to prevent or ameliorate emotional and cognitive problems in disease. The Sabariego lab is therefore also interested in the translational implications of this basic research and in understanding whether anxiety and memory disorders can result from a failure to appropriately organize neuronal activity and synaptic plasticity during our lives.
Sabariego received her Ph.D. in Psychology by the University of Jaén, Spain. During graduate school she was selected to visit the laboratory of Dr. Acquas in Italy to conduct her research for six months in 2012. She also received the CNLM foreign graduate student and Renee Harwick visiting scholar award by the University of California, Irvine in 2013. During her postdoc at the University of California, San Diego, she obtained the Neuroplasticity of Aging Training Grant by the National Institute of Health to investigate cognitive processes linked to disease using single-unit electrophysiological recordings in the laboratory of Stefan Leutgeb. Her coursework has benefited from these international experiences and it covered a wide range of topics of field of neuroscience. Finally, Sabariego is devoted to promoting diversity; she is a member of the BRAINS program designed to accelerate and improve the career advancement of neuroscience postdoctoral scholars and assistant professors from underrepresented groups.