Jonathon Crystal

Jonathon Crystal

Provost Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Interim Director, Neuroscience


  • Ph.D., Brown University, 1997
  • Sc.M., Brown University, 1994
  • B.Sc., University of Toronto, 1992

Research interests

Research in my lab is focused on developing new animal models of cognition. One benefit of studying cognition in animals is that it may provide insight into impairments in cognition observed in people. Cognitive impairments in people are debilitating, and developing insight into the origins of such impairments offers a tool to improve the effectiveness of treatments. Significant obstacles nonetheless impede the development of animal models of disordered cognition. Although there is a long history of studying learning and memory in animals, these types of cognitive processes may not match those observed clinically (e.g., Alzheimer's disease features severe impairments in episodic memory). Thus, it is possible that drug-development programs may identify agents effective at the pre-clinical level that subsequently fail when translated to a clinical trial in people. Ultimately, the expansion of the suite of cognitive processes that may be modeled in animals may translate to improved therapies for debilitating memory impairments observed in humans. The long-range goal is to understand how animals process and remember events in time and provide a theoretical framework for understanding memory disorders.

Current projects in the lab focus on: Animal models of episodic memory. Episodic memory function in rats that carry genes associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Representative publications

Replay of episodic memories in the rat (2018)
Panoz-Brown, D., Iyer, V., Carey, L. M., Sluka, C. M., Rajic, G., Kestenman, J., Gentry, M., Brotheridge, S., Somekh, I., Corbin, H. E., Tucker, K. G., Almeida, B., Hex, S. B., Garcia, K. D., Hohmann, A. G., & Crystal, J. D.
Current Biology, 28 (10), 1628-1634

Rats remember items in context using episodic memory (2016)
Panoz-Brown, D., Corbin, H.E., Dalecki, S.J., Gentry, M., Brotheridge, S., Sluka, C.M., Wu, J.E., & Crystal, J.D.
Current Biology, 26 (20), 2821-2826

Working Memory Systems in the Rat (2016)
Bratch, A., Kann, S., Cain, J.A., Wu, J.E., Rivera-Reyes, N., Dalecki, S., Arman, D., Dunn, A., Cooper, S., Corbin, H.E., Doyle, A.R., & Crystal, J.D.
Current Biology, 26 (3), 351-355

Binding of episodic memories in the rat (2014)
Crystal, J. D., & Smith, A. E.
Current Biology, 24 (24), 2957-2961

Practicing memory retrieval improves long-term retention in rats (2013)
Crystal, J.D., Ketzenberger, J.A., & Alford, W.T.
Current Biology, 23 R708-709

Event-based prospective memory in the rat (2013)
Wilson, A.G., Pizzo, M.J., Crystal, J.D.
Current Biology, 23 (12), 1089-1093

Source memory in the rat (2013)
Crystal, J.D., Alford, W.T., Zhou, W., & Hohmann, A.G.
Current Biology, 23 387-391

Rats answer an unexpected question after incidental encoding. (2012)
Zhou, W., Hohmann, A.G., & Crystal, J.D.
Current Biology, 22 1149-1153

Evidence for remembering when events occurred in a rodent model of episodic memory (2009)
Zhou W. & Crystal, J.D.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 106 9525-9529

Metacognition in the rat (2007)
Foote, A.L. & Crystal, J.D.
Current Biology, 17 551-555

Episodic-like memory in the rat (2006)
Babb, S.J. & Crystal, J.D.
Current Biology, 16 1317-1321

Dissertation Committee Service

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Tamara, Carolina Route Learning And Its Interaction With Visual Landmarks (May 2013) Timberlake, W. (chair), Crystal, J., Goldstone, R., Todd, P.