Unlocking the Secrets of the Brain's Spatial Memory System Using Functional Imaging and Virtual Reality For Mice

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 12:00pm
Daniel Dombeck, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Northwestern University

My lab studies rodent spatial navigation, essentially how animals get from point A to point B in their environments, how they know where they are in relation to their surroundings and how they form and retrieve spatial memories. To accomplish these goals, mammals form a representation of their local environment inside their brains using different specialized neurons residing in different brain structures, such as place cells in the hippocampus, which are active only in specific locations of a local environment, and grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex, which are active at many specific locations over the entire environment, forming a regular grid-like structure. We focus on the cellular and circuit mechanisms that generate the firing properties of these navigation neurons with the goal of understanding how internal brain representations are formed, stored, maintained and recalled. My lab uses virtual reality, high-resolution functional imaging and genetic labeling methods that we have developed over the past decade. Currently my lab is studying place cell and grid cell firing and plasticity at scales ranging from single synapses to populations containing up to a thousand neurons.

Location: NRB Auditorium

Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Time: 12:00pm

Host: Dr. H. Tad Blair