Collaboration with David Dupret’s lab

We had the opportunity to collaborate with David Dupret at the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit in Oxford on a project looking at the role of sharp wave/ripples for the consolidation of cell assembly patterns. The project, led by David and his talented team, is now published in Neuron. There is an abstract video explaining the work.

Warning: This video might trigger memory recall for anyone that has been to Oxford before.

Here is a link to the article.

Position available for a master student

We are currently seeking a highly motivated master student to carry out a master thesis on the neuronal basis of spatial behaviour.

The student will acquire experience in a wide array of techniques, including recordings of grid cells in behaving mice, data management and analysis and histological analysis.

The student will receive a 6 to 9-month HiWi contract. The expected starting date is October 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter. Applicants should send their CV to Dr. Kevin Allen.

Our new study published in eLife

Our manuscript entitled Visual landmarks sharpen grid cell metric and confer context specificity to neurons of the medial entorhinal cortex has now been published in eLife. This work shows that the firing pattern of grid cell in darkness is much less stable than previously thought. Moreover, we show that the firing rate of speed cells in the medial entorhinal cortex is influenced by visual information. PDF

Below are examples of grid cells for which the grid pattern disappears in darkness.

Instability of the grid firing pattern in darkness.  Firing rate maps of 4 cells (one cell per row) during 4 different conditions (l1, d1, l2, d2). Visual landmarks were present during l1 and l2. During d1 and d2, the animal was in darkness.
Instability of the grid firing pattern in darkness. Firing rate maps of 4 cells (one cell per row) during 4 different conditions (l1, d1, l2, d2). Visual landmarks were present during l1 and l2. During d1 and d2, the animal was in darkness.

New publication

Our article entitled “Interspike Intervals Reveal Functionally Distinct Cell Populations in the Medial Entorhinal Cortex” was just published in The Journal of Neuroscience . This work shows that the interspike intervals between 2 and 12 ms of a neuron in the medial entorhinal cortex predict the type of spatial information that the neuron encodes.
To learn more, have a look at the article here.

Position available for a PhD student

Our research group is now seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD student to carry out research on the neuronal basis of spatial memory. A master student would also be considered if he or she plans to stay in the lab for approximately 10 months.

The PhD project will focus primarily on the activity of place cells located in the hippocampus. We will investigate the molecular mechanisms behind the formation of new hippocampal-dependent memory by recording place cell activity during and after learning in genetically modified mice. The project will be done in collaboration with the research group of Dr. Ana Oliveira.

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The PhD students will perform virus injections in the hippocampus, tetrode recordings in behaving mice, and histological examination. More than 40% of the student’s time will involve data analysis. Candidates must have a master degree in a relevant subject area (e.g. neuroscience, physics, computer science, biology and psychology). The ideal candidate has significant experience with computer programming and data analysis. Very good communication skills in English, and the ability to work both independently and within a team are expected.

Applications should include a detailed CV, a brief letter of motivation (no more than 1000 words), and a letter of recommendation from one referee. Please send your application to Dr. Kevin Allen via email (see Contact section).