Michael E. Hasselmo graduated summa cum laude in 1984 from Harvard College with a Special Concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience. He was awarded the Detur Prize and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He received a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University, where he completed a D.Phil. from the Department of Experimental Psychology in 1988 based on unit recording of face-responsive neurons in monkey temporal lobe cortex. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology from 1988 to 1991 where he published work on modulatory mechanisms in cortical brain slice preparations. He was an Assistant and Associate Professor at Harvard University from 1991-1998 in the Department of Psychology and in the Mind, Brain and Behavior Interfaculty Initiative. He published work on cholinergic modulation of synaptic transmission and spike frequency accomodation in cortical structures, and demonstrated that acetylcholine sets appropriate cortical dynamics for encoding of new information. With his wife, Dr. Chantal Stern, he was a resident tutor at Eliot House, where their children were born.
Michael Hasselmo is currently the Director of the Center for Systems Neuroscience at Boston University and a Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Graduate Program for Neuroscience. His laboratory has three NIMH R01 grants and he is the principal investigator on an ONR MURI award. Research in the laboratory includes intracellular whole cell patch recordings to analyze modulatory effects and oscillatory dynamics in brain slice preparations of cortical structures, as well as extracellular recording of multiple single units in the retrosplenial cortex (including egocentric boundary cells and head direction cells), the entorhinal cortex (including grid cells, head direction cells, and speed modulated cells) as well as time cells, place cells and context-dependent splitter cells in the hippocampus. His modeling includes network level models and detailed biophysical models. Publications from the lab address the function of theta rhythm oscillations in the encoding of information in the hippocampus and related cortical structures, building on his earlier models of the role of acetylcholine in regulating mechanisms of encoding and consolidation.
He has published over 120 articles in peer reviewed journals including Science, Nature, Hippocampus, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Communications, Neuron, Trends in Neurosciences, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurophysiology, Neural Computation. He is the Computational Neuroscience editor at Hippocampus, and he is on the editorial board of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Behavioral Neuroscience, Neuroinformatics, and Brain Structure and Function. He served as president of the International Neural Network Society in 2003, and as program chair for the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks in Portland, Oregon, in July 2003 and was a member of the board of governors of INNS. He was a co-chair of the 1996 Computational Neuroscience conference and publications chair for the NIPS conference in 1995. He has served as a reviewer and program committee member for the CNS, NIPS, IJCNN and COSYNE conferences.
Michael Hasselmo grew up in Golden Valley, Minnesota, where he attended Golden Valley High School. His father, Nils Hasselmo, was a Professor of Scandinavian Languages and Literature and later President of the University of Minnesota (Nils Hasselmo Hall is named after him) and President of the Association of American Universities (AAU). His mother, Patricia Hasselmo, served on the Golden Valley School Board and the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council. Michael Hasselmo is married to Prof. Chantal Stern, and they have two children, Simone and Nicholas.