The Drew Lab

What we do

Memory enables us to use past experience to anticipate and prepare for future challenges. But memories can only be used adaptively if they are retrieved at the right time and place. For instance, memories of a traumatic experience can be useful in helping one avoid or confront situations similar to the original trauma. But retrieval of trauma memories in inappropriate situations is maladaptive. Anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and phobia are believed to occur, in part, because of the inability to suppress recall of aversive memories.

The major aim of our lab is to understand how the brain forms memories of our experiences, how these memories are retrieved at the right time and place, and how these memories can be suppressed. We focus on the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is specialized for rapidly generating detailed, multimodal memories of our experiences, called episodic memories. We study hippocampal function in mice because of the availability of genetic tools that give us the ability to manipulate neurons and neural circuits with unprecedented precision. Learn more about our research.


September 2023

Pavlovian Society Annual Meeting is September 21-23, 2023 in Austin, Texas.

April 2023

Michael is a faculty panelist at The Center for Learning and Memory's Memory Matters. April 10, 2023.

September 2022

Kenji Nishimura publishes a review of Stress Enhanced Fear Learning

Lab Lunch, December 2022


April 2021

Michael Williamson publishes in Cell Reports and gets cover.

October 2020

Emma and Michael were panelists for UT Brainstorms "Stresses and the Brain"

September 2020

Emma, Nathan, and Kenji present at the Pavlovian Society Virtual Meeting

May 2020

Michael presents "The Threatened Brain" at UT Brainstorms