Sara Aton, PhD

Sara Aton, PhD

3126 Kraus

2006                  Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Washington University, St. Louis, MO                                                                                                                                  

2006-2012         Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - Department of Neuroscience; Advisor: Dr. Marcos G. Frank

2012-Present     Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Why do we sleep?

What does sleep do for the brain?

The consolidation of recent experiences into long-term memories is a fundamental function of the brain and critical for survival. Consolidation is linked to plastic changes at synapses between neurons. However, very little is known about how this plasticity is brought about by ongoing activity in neuronal networks, and how different brain states (e.g. sleep and waking) contribute to the consolidation process.

Our lab studies how neuronal and network activity in sleeping and awake brain states contributes to plasticity following novel sensory experiences. By combining behavioral, biochemical, electrophysiological, and optogenetic techniques, we study the effects of waking experiences and sleep on neural circuits in the rodent brain.

2001-2004     Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation

2004-2006     National Research Service Award (F31), National Institute of Mental Health

2006-2008     Pickwick Postdoctoral Fellowship in Sleep Research, National Sleep Foundation

2007              Donald B. Lindsley Prize in Behavioral Neuroscience, Grass Foundation and Society For Neuroscience

2007              Barbara Jakschik Award, Washington University

2008-2009    Fellowship for Women in Science, L’Oréal USA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science

2008-2011     National Research Service Award (F32), National Eye Institute

2009              Young Investigator Award, Sleep Research Society

2011               ACNP Travel Award, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

2011-2014      Young Investigator Award, Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation

2011-2016       Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), National Eye Institute

2012                Neuroscience Scholar, University of Michigan

2013                Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship

2013-2018       New Innovator Award, NIH Directors Office and National Institute of Mental Health

2015, 2018      Selected Kavli Fellow, Kavli US Frontiers of Science Symposium, Kavli Foundation and National Academy of Science

2017-2020       Young Investigator Award, Human Frontiers Science Program

Delorme J, Kodoth V, Aton SJ (2018) Sleep loss disrupts Arc expression in dentate gyrus neurons. In press, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory          

Roach JP, Pidde O, Katz E, Wu J, Ognjanovski N, Aton SJ, Zochowski M (2018) Resonance with subthreshold oscillatory drive organizes activity and optimizes learning in neural networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1716933115          

Wu J, Skilling Q, Maruyama D, Li C, Ognjanovski N, Aton SJ, Zochowski M (2018) Functional Network Stability and Average Minimal Distance – A framework to rapidly assess dynamics of functional network representations. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 296: 69-83, DOI: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.12.021        

Durkin JM, Suresh A, Colbath J, Broussard C, Wu J, Zochowski M, Aton SJ (2017) Thalamocortical oscillations in NREM sleep play an essential, instructive role in visual system plasticity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114:10485-10490 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1710613114        

Puentes-Mestril C, Aton SJ (2017) Linking network activity to synaptic plasticity during sleep: hypotheses and recent data. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 11(61): DOI: 10.3389/fncir.2017.00061         

Ognjanovski N, Schaeffer S, Mofakham S, Wu X, Maruyama D, Zochowski M, Aton SJ (2017) Parvalbumin-expressing interneurons coordinate hippocampal network dynamics required for memory consolidation. Nature Communications,   8:15039: DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15039        

Havekes R, Park AJ, Ferri SL, Tudor JC, Bruinenberg V,  Poplawski SG, Day JP, Aton SJ, Radwańska K, Meerlo P, Houslay MD, Baillie GS, Abel T (2016) Sleep deprivation causes memory deficits by negatively impacting neuronal connectivity in hippocampal area CA1. eLife 10.7554/eLife.13424         

Clawson B, Durkin J, Aton SJ (2016) Form and function of sleep spindles across the lifespan. Neural Plasticity, 2016: Article ID 6936381        

Durkin JM, Aton SJ (2016) Sleep-dependent potentiation in the visual system is at odds with the Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis. SLEEP, 39(1):155–9.     

Gerstner JR, Aton SJ, Heller HC (2015) Waking up to the alarm: Sleep, clocks, and making memory (s)tick. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 9: 65.      

Bridi MCD, Aton SJ, Seibt J, Renouard L, Coleman T, Frank MG (2015) Rapid eye movement sleep promotes cortical plasticity in the developing cat. Science Advances, 1(6):e1500105.      

Ognjanovski N, Maruyama D, Lashner N, Zochowski M, Aton SJ (2014) CA1 hippocampal network activity changes during sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 8: 61.    

Aton SJ, Suresh A, Broussard C, Frank MG (2014) Sleep promotes cortical response potentiation following visual experience. SLEEP, 37(7):1163-70.   

Prince TM, Choi J, Wimmer M, Havekes R, Aton S, Abel T (2014) Sleep deprivation during a specific 3-hour time window post-training impairs hippocampal synaptic plasticity and memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 109: 122-30.  

Dumoulin M, Aton SJ, Watson A, Coleman T, Frank MG (2013) Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity during sleep consolidates cortical plasticity in vivo.  Cerebral Cortex, 25(2):507-15.    

Freeman GM Jr, Krock RM, Aton SJ, Thaben P, Herzog ED. (2013). GABA Networks Destabilize Genetic Oscillations in the Circadian Pacemaker. Neuron, 78(5):799-806.  

Aton SJ. (2013). Set and setting: How behavioral state regulates sensory function and plasticity. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 106: 1-10. 

Aton SJ, Broussard C, Dumoulin M, Seibt J, Watson A, Coleman T, Frank MG. (2013). Visual experience and subsequent sleep induce sequential plastic changes in putative inhibitory and excitatory cortical neurons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(8):3101-6.   

Frank M, Waldrop R, Dumoulin M, Aton SJ, Boal JG . (2012).  Sleep-like states in the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. PLoS ONE, 7(6):e38125.  

Seibt J, Dumoulin M, Aton SJ, Coleman T, Watson A, Naidoo N, Frank MG. (2012). Protein synthesis during sleep consolidates cortical plasticity in vivo. Current Biology, 22(8):676-82. 

Aton SJ, Seibt J, Dumoulin M, Coleman T, Shiraishi M, Frank MG. (2009). The sedating antidepressant trazodone impairs sleep-dependent cortical plasticity. PLoS ONE, 4(7): e6078.    

Aton SJ, Seibt J, Dumoulin M, Jha SK, Steinmetz N, Coleman T, Naidoo N, Frank MG. (2009). Mechanisms of sleep-dependent consolidation of cortical plasticity. Neuron, 61(3): 454–466.  

 Aton SJ, Seibt J, Frank MG. (2009). Sleep and memory. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester.  

Uebele VN, Nuss CE, Santarelli VP, Garson SL, Kraus RL, Stauffer SR, Barrow JC, Koblan KS, Renger JJ, Aton S, Seibt J, Dumoulin M, Jha SK, Coleman T, Frank MG. (2009). T-type calcium channels regulate cortical plasticity in vivo. NeuroReport, 20(3): 257–262.   

 Seibt J, Aton SJ, Jha SK, Coleman T, Dumoulin MC, Frank MG. (2008). The non-benzodiazepine hypnotic Zolpidem impairs sleep-dependent cortical plasticity. SLEEP, 31(10): 1381-91.  

Saxena MT, Aton SJ, Hildebolt C, Prior J, Abraham U, Piwnica-Worms D, Herzog ED. (2007). Bioluminescence imaging of Period1 gene expression in utero. Molecular Imaging, 6(1): 68-72.   

Aton SJ, Huettner JE, Straume M, Herzog ED. (2006). GABA and Gi/o differentially control circadian rhythms and synchrony in clock neurons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(50): 19188-93.   

Aton SJ, Herzog ED. (2005). Come together, right… now: Synchronization of rhythms in a mammalian circadian clock. Neuron, 48(4): 531-4. 

Aton SJ, Colwell CS, Harmar AJ, Waschek J, Herzog ED. (2005). Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide mediates circadian rhythmicity and synchrony in mammalian clock neurons. Nature Neuroscience, 8(4): 476-83 . 

Aton SJ, Block GD, Tei H, Yamazaki S, Herzog ED. (2004). Plasticity of circadian behavior and the suprachiasmatic nucleus following exposure to non-24 hour light cycles. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 19(3): 198-207.     

Herzog ED, Aton SJ, Numano R, Sakaki Y, & Tei H. (2004). Temporal precision in the mammalian circadian system: a reliable clock from less reliable neurons. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 19(1): 35-46.  

Granados-Fuentes D, Saxena MT, Prolo LM, Aton SJ, Herzog ED. (2004). Olfactory bulb neurons express functional, entrainable circadian rhythms. European Journal of Neuroscience, 19(4): 898-906.