Mark Brandon, PhD



6875 Boulevard LaSalle
Montréal, QC
H4H 1R3

 Office:E-2125, Perry Pavilion

 Fax: (514) 762-3034

  Lab website:

Canada Research Chair in Neural Circuits of Memory – Tier 2

Researcher, Douglas Research Centre
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

Lab name: Neuronal circuits of memory

Theme-Based Group: Aging, Cognition, and Alzheimer’s Disease
Division: Basic Neuroscience


The Brandon Lab examines how neuronal circuits in the entorhinal-hippocampal memory system function in health and disease. Research in the lab focuses on four main objectives;
1) Identify the circuit mechanisms by which the brain generates representations of space and time.
2) Determine how temporally organizing spiking and inter-regional coherence support memory.
3) Examine how extra- and intra-hippocampal circuits support retrieval of previously stored contextual memory representations.
4) Characterize how aging and Alzheimer’s pathology impact spatial coding and spatial memory retrieval in the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit.
We use single-unit electrophysiology and calcium imaging techniques to record from large populations of neurons in these memory circuits as animals perform a variety of behaviors, from simple foraging in an open field, to solving spatial memory tasks in a T-maze or in a virtual reality paradigm. We use a variety of transgenic mouse lines to perform cell-type and circuit-specific optogenetic control and imaging experiments. This combined strategy has great potential to understand how memory works on the neuronal circuit level and will help to guide new efforts in the search for therapies to restore memory in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Brandon obtained his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Boston University in 2011, where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Hasselmo. Here, he studied the neural system for spatial memory and navigation in the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit. Notably, Dr. Brandon made the exciting discovery that grid cells in entorhinal cortex require input from the medial septum, a basal forebrain structure that supports the theta rhythm and undergoes degeneration in Alzheimer ’s disease and temporal lobe epilepsy. Dr. Brandon then studied as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Stefan Leutgeb’s laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. He received an NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowship to study the circuit mechanisms in the medial septum that contribute to temporal and spatial coding in the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit. Dr. Brandon pioneered the combination of hippocampal recordings during medial septal optogenetic stimulation in freely behaving transgenic mice. In 2015, Dr. Brandon was recruited to the Douglas Hospital Research Centre and McGill University as Assistant Professor to establish a new laboratory to continue his research on temporal and spatial memory coding in the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit in health and disease.

NIH Postdoctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (2012-2015)

Zaki Ajabi
Hyun Choong Yong

1) Lee JQ, Brandon MP (2023) Time and experience are independent determinants of representational drift in CA1. Neuron. 111, 15, 2, 2275-2277.

2) Ajabi Z, Keinath AT, Xuexin W, Brandon MP. (2023) Population dynamics of head direction system during drift and reorientation. Nature. 615, 892–899.

3) Ying J, Reboreda A, Yoshida M, Brandon MP. (2023) Grid cell disruption in a mouse model of early Alzheimer’s disease reflects reduced integration of self-motion cues. Current Biology. Jun 19;33(12):2425-2437.

4) Keinath AT, Mosser CA, Brandon MP. (2022) The representation of context in mouse hippocampus is preserved despite neural drift. Nature Communications. 13:2415.

5) Ying J, Keinath AT, Lavoie R, Brandon MP. (2022) Selective impairment of the grid cell network in early Alzheimer’s disease. Nature Communications. 3l:886.

6) Robinson JC, Brandon MP. (2021) Skipping ahead: A circuit for representing the past, present and future. Elife. Oct 14;10:e68795

7) Vladislava S*, Ying J*, Morgan E, Brandon MP, Wolbers T. (2021) Path integration in normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Feb;26(2):142-158.

8) Badrinarayanan S, Manseau F, Williams S, Brandon MP. (2021) A characterization of the electrophysiological and morphological properties of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) interneurons in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC). Front. Neural Circuits. 15:653116.

9) Mosser CA, Haqqee Z, Nieto-Posadas A, Williams S, Brandon MP. (2021). The McGill- Mouse-Marmoset Platform: High-throughput Calcium Imaging of Neuronal Populations During Standardized Behavioral Tasks. Genes Brain and Behavior. Jan;20(1): n/a.

10) Keinath AT, Robinson J, Nieto-Posadas A, Brandon MP. (2020). DG-CA3 circuitry mediates hippocampal representations of latent information. Nature Communications. 11(3026): n/a.