Neural Circuit Mechanisms of Behavior-Dependent Representation for Space and Time

2018 Seed Grant
Takashi Kitamura, Ph.D.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

The central question in my proposal is whether our perception of time and space share the same circuit mechanisms during our daily life. Recent studies suggest that neurons in the medial entorhinal cortex (MEC) can represent either travel distance or elapsed time in a behaviorally-dependent fashion. The results suggest that the MEC may flexibly represent only behaviorally-relevant spatiotemporal dimensions in an information-compressed manner. However, how the brain optimizes spatiotemporal metrics under different behavioral contexts is still unclear. To address this question, I will examine neural circuit mechanisms for the behavior-dependent optimization of the brain’s spatiotemporal metrics by using mouse circuit genetics and cell-type specific activity monitoring/manipulating analysis of the MEC circuits, which would lead to the biophysically-­based mechanistic understanding of brain function for the animal’s perception of time and space.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The Role of Microglial Lysosomes in Selective Neuronal Vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the Nervous System Constructs Internal Models of the External World
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the Orchestra of Movement—Functional Role of Striatal Astrocytes in Health and Disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…