Pamela Banta Lavenex
Dr. Pamela Banta Lavenex completed her doctoral studies in Neuroscience at the University of Arizona studying parrot cognition and the neural bases of parrot vocalizations under the tutelage of the comparative psychologist Irene Pepperberg. Pamela then joined forces with her husband Pierre Lavenex, in the laboratory of David Amaral at the University of California, Davis, to begin their collaborative efforts to study the development of the hippocampus and hippocampal-dependent memory in non-human primates, combining genetic, neuroanatomical and behavioral approaches.
Upon moving to Switzerland, Pamela, who is currently in the Institute of Psychology at the University of Lausanne, began investigating spatial cognition in humans, with a particular emphasis on development. Pamela’s work has described in detail the developmental trajectory of allocentric spatial memory, a fundamental component of episodic memory, in typically-developing children from 2 to 7 years old. Together, Pamela and Pierre’s work in humans and non-human primates has allowed them to identify changes in neuroanatomical substrates and gene expression which coincide with, and likely underlie, the development of specific memory processes that rely on the hippocampus, and more specifically on particular subregions of the hippocampus. Most recently, Pamela has begun to investigate the spatial memory capacities of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Down Syndrome and Williams syndrome, in whom the hippocampal formation is believed to be specifically impaired.