Professor, Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience
Ph.D. New York University Medical Center
B.A. New College
Research Interests: Cellular and molecular basis of memory.
Overview: What changes in your brain when you learn something? Lesion studies have determined that a highly conserved structure called the hippocampus is required for memory acquisition in mammals, including humans. My laboratory is interested in how neurons in the hippocampus and related brain areas reflect experience. We use two distinct but complementary approaches to this goal: 1) recording neurons from awake, behaving rodents; and 2) generating genetically-modified mice capable of expressing transgenes in particular neuronal cell types relevant to learning and memory. Combining the former with the latter enables the neural analog of the approach used by engineers to investigate electrical circuits: basically, one records from one circuit element (i.e. neuronal cell type) while manipulating the activity of others. In this way we can explore the transformation of information through the circuitry underlying learning and memory.
Functional properties of stellate cells in medial entorhinal cortex layer II.
Elife. 2018 Sep 14;7:
Authors: Rowland DC, Obenhaus HA, Skytøen ER, Zhang Q, Kentros CG, Moser EI, Moser MB
Layer II of the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) contains two principal cell types: pyramidal cells and stellate cells. Accumulating evidence suggests that these two cell types have distinct molecular profiles, physiological properties, and connectivity. The observations hint at a fundamental functional difference between the two cell populations but conclusions have been mixed. Here, we used a tTA-based transgenic mouse line to drive expression of ArchT, an optogenetic silencer, specifically in stellate cells. We were able to optogenetically identify stellate cells and characterize their firing properties in freely moving mice. The stellate cell population included cells from a range of functional cell classes. Roughly one in four of the tagged cells were grid cells, suggesting that stellate cells contribute not only to path-integration-based representation of self-location but also have other functions. The data support observations suggesting that grid cells are not the sole determinant of place cell firing.
PMID: 30215597 [PubMed - in process]