Anastasia Lyalenko Memorial Fund

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Click here for the Anastasia Lyalenko Giving Page.

The Computational Memory Lab uses mathematical modeling and computational techniques to study human memory. We apply these quantitative methods both to data from laboratory studies of human memory and from electrophysiological studies involving direct human brain recordings in neurosurgical patients.

Our research is focused on neurocomputational mechanisms of human episodic and spatial memory. Episodic memory refers to memory for events that are embedded in a temporal context. This includes both memory for significant life events and memory for common daily activities. In the laboratory, episodic memory is investigated by presenting lists of items (frequently words) for study, and then asking participants to recall the words. By analyzing the dynamics of the recall process one can quantify the way in which people transition from one recalled word to the next (see Fig. 1).

Furthermore, by studying the electrophysiology of the brain while engaged in memory tasks, we can find, for example, regions that show increased or decreased activity when a word is successfully encoded (i.e., later recalled) versus when it is not successfully encoded, known as the subsequent memory effect (see Fig. 3).

Two of our ongoing, large-scale data collection projects are the Penn Electrophysiology of Encoding and Retrieval Study (PEERS), a multi-session experiment with young and older adults combining free recall and scalp EEG (a book of these results can be found here); and an effort to collect electrophysiological data on patients with intractable epilepsy (undergoing monitoring with intracranial electrodes at partnering local hospitals) while they participate in a variety of memory and decision-making tasks.

Anastasia's story Anastasia was an incredibly bright, talented, and compassionate individual. She started her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, where she excelled in her required pre-medical school classes. She described her passion for medicine as a way to combine her intellectual interest in the sciences and her desire to interact with and help others. Anastasia was interested in neurology, psychiatry, and women's health. She graduated from Penn with honors in 2014, with a major in the Biological Basis of Behavior. She was in the process of applying to medical school when she passed away at the age of 22 from complications related to viral myocarditis.

Friends described Anastasia as brilliant, vivacious, beautiful and self-sufficient. She will always be remembered for her remarkable life, fighting spirit, and tremendous impact on all she met. Purpose of the fund The purpose of this fund is to honor Anastasia's wish to attend medical school, as well as her commitment to encouraging women to participate in the sciences. The fund will support the Focus Section for Women Residents and Fellows ( at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, supporting women who wish to advance in the field of medicine. In the future, we hope that enough money will be raised so that a yearly award in Anastasia's name may be given to this deserving program in support of women advancing their careers in medicine.