Will talk about: The making of spatial memories
I grew up in Muenster, Germany and started to study biochemistry at the University of Tuebingen. I soon became interested in animal behavior and did a one-year internship at Hubbs Sea World Research Institute, San Diego on sperm whale bioacoustics. Thus, I decided to finish in biology rather than in biochemistry. My diploma work with Bruno Preilowski and Michael Merzenich at University of California San Francisco was concerned with rat vibrissal behaviors. Subsequently I did a PhD in the lab of Wolf Singer on the role synchronization of neural activity in the superior colliculus in the control of eye movements. After my PhD I felt that we will not succeed in understanding population activity without an improved knowledge about cellular computations in vivo. I therefore joined Bert Sakmann’s lab as a postdoc to do in vivo whole-cell recordings in rat barrel cortex. From there I went first to Erasmus University, Rotterdam to become an assistant professor and then to Humboldt University, Berlin, where I became a full professor. Our research group works on (1) the meaning of single neuron activity, (2) cellular mechanisms of complex somatosensory–mediated behaviors, (3) spatial memory, (4) technique development.
Extracellular recordings have elucidated spatial neural representations without identifying underlying microcircuits. In my talk I will highlight findings from juxtacellular recordings in entorhinal cortex and data from hippocampal whole-cell recordings in awake behaving animals. In particular I will discuss novel evidence from identified neurons in entorhinal cortex, which suggests that cortical lamination is tightly related memory formation. If time permits I will also discuss the idea that internal factors might contribute to hippocampal map formation and global remapping.