Our lab is currently constructing setups for recording of nerve-cells in awake-behaving rats.
Main themes of research the lab will be involved in:
The encoding of space in the Hippocampal Formation
Place cells, grid cells, head-direction cells and border cells seem to be part of a GPS-like cognitive map which helps us find our way around. However not much is known on the encoding of the position of other objects in the environment. Our lab endeavors to find out a more complete description of the representation of space and all its aspects in the hippocampal formation and surrounding cortices.
Optogenetic tools in combination with electrophysiology in awake behaving rats
We are interested in understanding and analyzing the brain circuitry behind grid cells, place cells, and the brain’s cognitive map. To this end we incorporate cutting-edge optogenetic tools together with electrophysiological recordings in awake behaving rats performing tasks in real and virtual environments.
Links between Space and Memory
The hippocampus is known to have various functions. Two major functions are commonly ascribed to it:
- Episodic memory
- Cognitive map
Our lab is interested in finding the links between those two known functions of the hippocampus and associated cortices.
The enconding of time in the Hippocampal Formation
There are times in which place cells turn into time cells (Pastalkova et al., 2008). This is an intriguing phenomenon, and we would like to research it more deeply. When does that happen? How are time cells related to episodic memory? What is the relation between time cells and place cells? How are time cells related to the entorhinal cortex?
Brain spatial processing algorithms
Various different cues are responsible for our perception of space. Among others, we can mention cues which originate in our vestibular system, cues which originate from our own motion through proprioception, and cues which are related to optic-flow. Our lab would like to find out what are the building blocks which create our perception of space. To this end we plan to combine recordings of regions on the pathway from the senses to the entorhinal cortex, using real and virtual-reality setups, trying to understand how the signal is constructed.