Benjamin Clark

Assistant Professor

Photo: Benjamin Clark
Logan Hall Rm 174
Ph.D., Dartmouth College
Lab Website

Research Area/s:

Cognition, Brain and Behavior

Research Interests:

  • Neurobiology of spatial navigation and memory
  • Developmental alcohol exposure and spatial memory
  • Alzheimer's disease and spatial memory


Accepting students?  Email Dr. Clark if you are interested in pursuing graduate studies in his lab.

Dr. Benjamin Clark is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Clark received a BSc in Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge, and a PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences from Dartmouth College. Dr. Clark maintains an active laboratory including several undergraduate research assistants and graduate students. Research in Dr. Clark’s laboratory is aimed at better understanding the neurobiology of spatial behavior, with particular emphasis on a class of limbic system and hippocampal neurons that are active when an animal enters a specific environmental location or in a specific head orientation (i.e., ‘place cells, grid cells, and ‘head direction’ cells). A broad aim of this research program is to understand structural and functional loss in neurodevelopment disorders such Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, both of which are marked by spatial disorientation and memory decline.

Selected Publications

Graduate and undergraduate trainees are underlined

  • Xu Z, Wu W, Winter SS, Mehlman ML, Butler WN, Simmons C, Harvey RE, Berkowitz LE, Chen Y, Taube JS, Wilber AA, Clark BJ. (2019). A comparison of neural decoding methods and population coding across thalamo-cortical head direction cells. Frontiers in Neural Circuits. 13(75): doi: 10.3389/fncir.2019.00075
  • Harvey RE, Berkowitz LE, Hamilton DA, Clark BJ. (2019). The effects of developmental alcohol exposure on the neurobiology of spatial processing. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 107:775-794.
  • Sanchez LM, Goss J, Wagner J, Davies S, Savage DD, Hamilton DA, Clark BJ. (2019). Moderate prenatal alcohol exposure impairs performance in an object-place paired-associate task. Behavioural Brain Research. 360:228-234.
  • Berkowitz LE, Harvey RE, Drake EN, Thompson SM, Clark BJ. (2018). Progressive impairment of directional and spatially precise trajectories by TgF344-Alzhiemer’s disease rats in the Morris water task. Scientific Reports. 8:16153.
  • Thompson SM, Berkowitz LE, Clark BJ. (2018). Behavioral and neural subsystems of rodent exploration. Learning and Motivation. 61:3-15.

Courses Taught

  • Psychology 240: Brain and Behavior
  • Psychology 344: Human Neuropsychology
  • Psychology 345: Neuroscience of Aging and Dementia
  • Psychology 450: Philosophy of Neuroscience
  • Psychology 450: Neurobiology of Memory


  • Laura Berkowitz (Graduate Student), Head direction cells and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Tia Donaldson (Graduate Student), Neural basis of path integration in mice
  • Ryan Harvey (Graduate Student), Hippocampal place cells and developmental alcohol exposure
  • Lilliana Sanchez (Graduate Student), Hippocampal-dependent memory and developmental alcohol exposure
  • Judit Huerta (McNair Scholar), Role of anterior and lateral thalamic nuclei in spatial behavior

Note: Please contact me via email If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies or obtaining undergraduate research experience in my laboratory.