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.

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