In our next Researcher Live series, we will be focusing on ‘Sleep & Memory’ – bringing you four fantastic speakers.

Join our fourth episode on 18th November at 2 pm BST for a talk with Dr Martyna Rakowska, Cardiff University. Sign up here to receive email reminders for this series.


What are we going to talk about in this episode?


Sleep is a remarkably complex and universal neuro-behavioural state. We spend one third of our lives asleep, but we still do not know exactly why that is. There is now overwhelming evidence that memories spontaneously reactivate during sleep, and this is thought to be essential for memory consolidation.


However, the precise role of memory reactivation in long-term consolidation remains to be understood. Targeted memory reactivation (TMR) taps into the sleep-dependent consolidation process, providing a valuable tool to manipulate and study memory reactivation. 


During this session, Dr Rakowska will talk about a series of TMR experiments she conducted during her PhD to track the impact of cued replay on memories over time. By combining TMR during sleep with examination of behaviour and multimodal she was able to show that repeated reactivation of procedural memories over a single night of sleep can affect memory performance up to 20 days post-stimulation and lead to task-related changes in brain structure and function. In light of these results, Dr Rakowska argues that memory reactivation during sleep is a powerful way to facilitate the persistence of memories over long periods of time.


The slides for this event can be found here.


Series programme:


  • 15th November, 10 am BST - ‘Reactivating memories in sleep and dreams’ with Dr Anthony Bloxham, Nottingham Trent University.


  • 17th November, 11 am BST – ‘Emotion regulation and Targeted Memory Reactivation in healthy controls and isolated REM Behaviour Disorder patients’ with Caterina Leitner, Sleep Medicine Centre of San Raffaele hospital


  • 17th November, 4 pm BST – ‘Why we don’t do well without sleepwith Dr Scott Cairney, University of York


  • 18th November, 3 pm BST – ‘Evolving plasticity in the brain and behaviour after memory reactivation during sleep with Dr Martyna Rakowska, Cardiff University


Date and Time
Friday, November 18, 2022
02:00 pm - 03:00 pm GMT+0
Avatar Dr Martyna Rakowska


Dr Martyna Rakowska is a sleep and memory researcher at the Neuroscience and Psychology of Sleep (NaPs) lab (Cardiff University) where neuroscientists, psychologists and engineers work together to manipulate sleep in order to improve health and cognition - a field they refer to as ‘sleep engineering’. Dr Rakowska joined NaPs in 2018 and has since focused on exploring the long-term impacts of targeted memory reaction during sleep. In collaboration with the University of Oxford she provided the first report on the structural and microstructural plasticity following auditory cueing during sleep. She now holds a PhD in sleep engineering and was awarded the Junior Researcher of the Year Prize (2020, Cardiff University) in recognition of her outstanding research achievements. Prior to her sleep adventures, Dr Rakowska studied the role of medial entorhinal cortex in spatial memory at the University of Edinburgh. She has an active interest in neuroimaging, including EEG, MRI and confocal microscopy, and enjoys scuba diving in her free time.

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