The Bernstein Center Freiburg

Informal Seminar
Anna Jasper

Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and Computer Engineering
University of Tübingen, Germany

Place cells in the rat hippocampus
in virtual environments
Monday, January 25, 2010
11:00 h sharp
Room 05.070 (5th floor)
Biology III
Schänzlestr. 1
The department of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Tuebingen has developed a virtual reality setup for rats and has successfully proven that rats are able to navigate in this environment (1). Former attempts to record place cells in this environment failed because it was difficult to keep the rats within a certain arena. In 2004 Kentros et al. (2) found that white noise could be used as a negative reinforcer to guide navigation to a focal location. As a result I am using white noise as an additional cue to keep the rats within a certain area in the virtual environment. In order to train the rats I built a model of the virtual arena where I am also recording place cells. My thesis also includes a comparison of two different types of microdrives.

[1] Hölscher, C., Schnee, A., Dahmen, H., Setia, L., and Mallot, H. A. (2005). Rats are able to navigate in virtual environments. J. Exp. Biol., 208:561–569
[2] Kentros CG, Agnihotri NT, Streater S, Hawkins RD, Kandel ER. Increased attention to spatial context increases both place field stability and spatial memory. Neuron 2004;42:283– 95.
The talk is open to the public. Guests are cordially invited!