Charan Ranganath


Dynamic Memory Lab at UCDavis

Our research focuses on characterizing the psychological processes that support human memory, and their neural underpinnings. In particular, we have investigated the functions of brain regions in the prefrontal cortex, and medial temporal lobes. Some of our research has addressed the following questions:

  • How do we keep information “in mind” at a given time?
  • How are these processes related to processes that support formation and retrieval of memories for past events?
  • How do we “bind” together all of the aspects of an event into a coherent memory representation?
  • How do we use our goals and knowledge to facilitate formation of new memories and retrieval of memories of past events?
  • Are there fundamental differences between the neural mechanisms that support feelings of familiarity and those that support recollection of details about past events? 
  • What are the neural mechanisms that underlie memory disorders in patients with schizophrenia?

We use a number of research methods to address these questions, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), field potentials recorded directly from the human brain, scalp-recorded electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potentials, eye-tracking, and testing of patients with focal brain damage.

Current Projects


1 T32 MH112507-01
PI Kimberly McAllister, Program Co-Director Charan Ranganath 
July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2022

Learning, Memory, and Plasticity (LaMP) Training Program

This proposal outlines a multi-disciplinary graduate training program in the neuroscience of learning and memory. This novel program cuts across disciplines to bridge the gaps between research at the cognitive, systems, and cellular/molecular levels. The program aims to train a new generation of innovative scientists who are capable of thinking about memory across scales and levels of analysis. The program includes specialized training in basic science, as well as translational studies of psychiatric and neurological disorders that affect memory.

PI Andy Yonelinas, Co-Investigator Charan Ranganath 
September 1, 2014 – September 1, 2021

Plasticity, Perception, and the Medial Temporal Lobes
The proposal aims to determine how regions within the MTL contribute to complex scene perception and visual working memory using a combination of studies examining patients with focal lesions to specific MTL subregions, high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and model- based analyses of results obtained with novel psychophysical paradigms. 
Role: Co-Investigator

Pilot Grant UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
PI Charan Ranganath
July 01, 2018 – June 30, 2019

Naturalistic Memory and Neurocognitive Aging

This grant provides funding for a proof-of-concept study to examine memory for naturalistic stimuli (movies and stories) in healthy aging and preclinical AD.

1R01MH105411 (NIMH)
​PI Charan Ranganath, PI Daniel Ragland
December 01, 2014 – November 30, 2019

Neural Mechanisms of Memory Dysfunction in Schizophrenia

​The goal of this proposal is to use multimodal imaging including magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine the causes of memory deficits in schizophrenia.