Tim Bliss is a neuroscientist whose work has done much to provide a neural explanation for learning and memory. Studying the hippocampus — the memory centre of the brain — Tim showed that the strength of signals between neurons in the brain exhibits a long-term increase following brief but intense activation, a phenomenon known as long-term potentiation (LTP).
Synapses are specialist junctions between nerve cells, where release of a chemical from one nerve cell influences the excitability of its neighbour. Tim’s detailed description of hippocampal LTP, with physiologist Terje Lømo who first noted the phenomenon, confirmed that high-frequency patterns of synaptic firing can induce lasting changes in synaptic strength. LTP is now the most widely studied model of memory storage.
Whilst LTP was discovered in Oslo in the lab of Per Andersen, Tim’s subsequent research into the cellular properties of LTP and its relation to memory was conducted at London’s National Institute for Medical Research. Tim was a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and has received several international awards for his work.
Interest and expertise
Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
LTP, Synaptic plasticity, Hippocampus, Learning and memory