6525 AJ NIJMEGEN
Internal postal code: 66
My work has concentrated on neural ensemble recordings in freely behaving rodents (rats and mice), with which we can record up to ~100 single neurons. I focused on the interaction between hippocampus and neocortex, in memory encoding and consolidation. We developed data analysis techniques to detect the activation of synchronized neuronal groups ('cell assemblies'). Thus, we characterized the interaction between assemblies in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, demonstrating that replay of previously experienced neural patterns in the prefrontal cortex is correlated to hippocampal sharp wave bursts (Peyrache et al., Nature Neuroscience 2009). Furthermore, hippocampal/prefrontal coherence (between theta oscillations in the two sites) was strongest at the crucial phase of a rule-based decision making task, and coincided with the synchronous activation of cell assemblies, possibly controlled by dopamine. The same assemblies replayed the strongest in subsequent sleep, suggesting that hippocampal/prefrontal communication is related to the selection of information to retain for further consolidation (Benchenane et al. Neuron 2010).
In mice, we are currently studying the behavior of hippocampal place cells and hippocampal oscillatory dynamics in several transgenic models of impaired synaptic function (NMDA CA1 KO, developed in S. Tonegawa’s lab at the MIT) and of Fragile-X mental retardation (from B. Oostra’s lab, Rotterdam), with a miniaturized micro-drive developed in-house (Battaglia et al. 2008).
Within the EU funded consortia ENLIGHTENMENT and NEUROSEEKER, we are developing next generation tools for large scale neural ensemble recording and for the combined, closed-loop optogenetical stimulation of neural circuits.
Key Research Areas:
Neural dynamics, sleep, criticality, analysis of neural data, memory, learning