A New Paradigm for the Neuroscience of Navigation

2020 Seed Grant
Anirvan S. Nandy, Ph.D.
Yale University

The Serota Family Seed Grant

How do social interactions dynamically shape the neural circuits of cognition? Maps of the physical and social environment (“cognitive maps”) in the brain have been theorized to be central to cognition. In highly social species like humans, cognitive computations frequently occur in social contexts. However, it remains unknown how social contexts shape cognitive maps, especially in the primate brain. This knowledge may ultimately provide unprecedented perspectives on cognitive disorders in the human brain. The overarching goal of our proposal is to create a foundational understanding of the impact of social context on cognitive maps, and to make the first direct observations revealing the specific neural patterns that drive social interactions in the hippocampal-entorhinal circuit in non-human primates. The outcome of these studies will for the first time reveal specific neural mechanisms in the brain that underlie social navigation, paving the elucidate relevant neural dysfunctions in cognitive disorders such as social anxiety autism spectrum.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
Exercise is important for the health of the body and the mind. Exercise promotes learning and reduces symptoms of brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it…
William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…