Despite a century of research, memory encoding in the brain has remained mysterious. Neuronal synaptic connection strengths are involved, but synaptic components are short-lived while memories last lifetimes. This suggests synaptic information is encoded and hard-wired at a deeper, finer-grained molecular scale.
In an article in the March 8 issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology, physicists Travis Craddock and Jack Tuszynski of the University of Alberta, and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff of the University of Arizona demonstrate a plausible mechanism for encoding synaptic memory in microtubules, major components of the structural cytoskeleton within neurons.
I had the opportunity to see Dr. Hameroff speak at Google in 2007 — you can view a video of that talk here. He’s an interesting fellow with a lot of very interesting ideas — some of which are (as far as I can tell as a layman) somewhat outside the mainstream.
What I’m saying is: check this out, but take it with a grain of salt.