The sense of place: hippocampus and entorhinal cortex
We are working on theory and modeling of the entorhinal cortex (EC) and the hippocampus. In the EC there are populations of grid cells which fire if the animal is in one of a triangular lattice of locations. We have proposed a new theory of how such grid cells encode an animals spatial location. The theory makes a number of predictions that match experimental measurements of the anatomical and functional organization of the grid system. Ongoing work concerns the integration of information from grid cells and other types of cells (e.g. head direction cells, border cells) in circuits that mediate spatial behavior.
The hippocampus contains a population of place cells that fire when an animal is in a specific localized region. Place cells are thought to provide a readout mechanism for the grid system in the entorhinal cortex. Ongoing work considers how this integration happens, and how the place system serves goal-directed navigation by animal.