The medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) is part of the brain’s circuit for dynamic representation of self-location. A key component of this representation is the grid cell, whose spatial firing fields tile environments in a periodic hexagonal pattern, but the circuit contains also other functional cell types, such as head direction cells and border cells. In this lecture, I will discuss the mechanisms by which grid patterns are updated in accordance with the animal’s movement in the environment. I will show that running speed is represented in the firing rate of a ubiquitous but functionally dedicated population of MEC neurons. I will also show that speed is represented across a wider brain circuit that includes speed cells in the mesencephalic locomotor region, whose outputs may reach the MEC via speed cells in the diagonal band of Broca. Furthermore, I will ask how a hexagonal firing pattern might arise as a function of network interactions in the medial entorhinal cortex and how maturational processes pre- and postnatally might give rise to the periodic firing patterns of the grid cells.
Edvard Moser is a Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. He is interested in how spatial location and spatial memory are computed in the brain. His work, conducted with May-Britt Moser as a long-term collaborator, includes the discovery of grid cells in the entorhinal cortex, which provides clues to a neural mechanism for the metric of spatial mapping. The discovery of grid cells was succeeded by identification of other functional cell types, including border cells and speed cells. Collectively the findings point to the entorhinal cortex as a hub for the brain network that makes us find our way. Together with May-Britt Moser and John O’Keefe, Edvard Moser was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014.
This workshop is suitable for postdocs and graduate students who would like to learn how to use Picower Bioinformatics Web Server. No prior knowledge in this field is needed to participate in this workshop. The workshop will consist of a short lecture followed by demonstrations.
Bioinformatics Web Server
Under the Picower director’s leadership, Bioinformatics unit has built a comprehensive epigenome webserver/database for studying neurogenesis and pathogenesis of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Currently, the Picower Bioinformatics Database includes several hundred processed GWAS, DNA methylation, RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, ATAC-Seq, Hi-C, ChIA-PET data produced from FACS sorted neuronal cells, cultured cell lines, postmortem brain tissues of four well-studied species: Homo_sapien, Macaca_mulatta, Mus_musculus and Rattus_norvegicus. The database is updated monthly with newly publicly available next-generation sequencing data. A web-based browser interface has been implemented for investigators to easily access the database and explore genes /genomic regions of their research interests (neurological diseases, neurodevelopment, ageing, activity-dependent stimulation, and etc.). A newly developed web-based analyzer interface generates aggregation plots / heatmaps for the genes of your interest.
Please note that the workshop will last for 1 hour, and all the participants are REQUIRED to bring their own laptop computers for hands-on practice.
Fan Gao, Ph.D., The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT
Fan is a staff bioinformatician with PILM. Before moving to MIT, Fan was working as a research associate at University of Southern California, with a joint appointment at Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute and Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research.