Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences
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Dr Ann Clemens

Our work is focused on understanding the neural circuit mechanisms underlying social behaviour from an ethological perspective.

Dr Ann Clemens

Simons ESAT Fellow

  • 1 George Square
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JZ

Contact details

Personal profile

Research experience and education:

  • Simons ESAT Fellow, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Humboldt University of Berlin, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Berlin, Germany
  • Faculty of the Neural Systems & Behavior Course, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, USA
  • PhD in Neuroscience, The University of Texas at Austin, Center for Learning and Memory, USA
  • BS in Neurobiology, The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Honors, awards and Fellowships:

  • Grass Fellowship, The Grass Foundation, USA, 2020
  • Best Presentation Award, FENS Winter School on Neural Control of Instinctive and Innate Behaviour, 2019
  • Best Presentation Award, FENS Brain Meeting on The Necessity of Cell Types for Brain Function, 2018
  • Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Fellowship, The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA

Research Theme

Synapses, Circuits and Behaviour


Our work is focused on understanding the sensory and circuit mechanisms underlying social behaviour from an ethological perspective. We examine the stages of social-sensory processing beginning with recognition and ending with social attachment. In between, we hope to disentangle both innate and learned aspects of kinship social behaviour by probing and observing the dynamics of the underlying neural circuits.

We use a variety of techniques to achieve these goals: in vivo and in vitro extracellular and whole-cell patch clamp recordings; large-scale multi-area electrophysiology and imaging with freely-moving behaviour; viral mediated connectivity and functional analyses; anatomical and histochemical analysis of functionally characterised neurons. We also have an interest in cross-disciplinary collaborations in the fields of evolutionary biology and psychology.


Team members

  • Ellie Pinkerton

  • Michelle Vesser

  • Connie Yung


Selected publications

Clemens A.M. ¥ and Brecht M. Neural Representations of Kinship. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2021.

Dennis E.J., El Hady A., Michaiel A., Clemens A., Tervo D., Voigts J., Datta S. Systems neuroscience of natural behaviors in rodents. Journal of Neuroscience. 2021.

Yuste, R., Hawrylycz, M., Aalling, N., Arendt, D., Armananzas, R., Ascoli, G., Bielza, C., Bokharaie, V., Bergmann, T., Bystron, I., Capogna, M., Chang, Y., Clemens, A., …. Zeng, H., Lein, E.S. A community-based transcriptomics classification and nomenclature of neocortical cell types. Nature Neuroscience. 2020.

Clemens, A.M.¥, Wang, H., Brecht, M. ¥ The lateral septum mediates kinship behavior in the rat.  Nature Communications. 2020.

Clemens, A.M., Lenschow, C., Beed, P., Li, L., Sammons, R., Naumann, R.K., Wang, H., Schmitz, D., Brecht, M. Estrus-Cycle Regulation of Cortical Inhibition**. Current Biology. 2019.

Clemens A.M.*, Delgado Y.F.*, Mehlman M.L.*, Mishra P.* and Brecht M. Multisensory and Motor Representation of Rat Oral Somatosensory Cortex. Scientific Reports. 2018.

Clemens A.M. and Johnston D. Age- and location-dependent differences in store depletion induced h-channel plasticity in hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology, 2013.

Kim J., Nadal M.S., Clemens A.M., Baron M., Jung S.C., Misumi Y., Rudy B., Hoffman D.A. Kv4 accessory protein DPPX is a critical regulator of membrane excitability in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2008.

Kim J., Jung S.C, Clemens A.M., Petralia R.S., Hoffman D.A. Regulation of dendritic excitability by activity-dependent trafficking of the A-type K+ channel subunit Kv4.2 in hippocampal neurons. Neuron, 2007.


¥ Corresponding author

** News and Views: Delevich, K., Piekarski, D., Wilbrecht, L. Sex Hormones at Work in the Neocortex. Current Biology, 2019.

* Equal contribution of authors


Information for students:

Willingness to discuss research projects with undergraduate and postgraduate students: YES - please click here