Who would we be without our memories? Through learning and memorisation of relevant information, our brain learns to make predictions about the world and take (hopefully) appropriate decisions. Our specific experiences make each one of us unique individuals and orient our daily actions. My general aim as a researcher is to try and understand how declarative memories are stored in neural networks and how they are used to influence complex decisions. In particular, I study “place cells”, hippocampal neurons thought to encode spatial memories. Recording the activity of these cells in rats performing complex navigation tasks (for example in our “hexamaze”) should help us unravel the mechanisms of navigation in complex space and the processes through which memory influences future decisions.
Using in vivo electrophysiology, my work as a post-doctoral researcher aims at better understanding some of the neural mechanisms underlying goal-directed navigation in complex environments. I am particularly interested in hippocampal “place cells” and how these neurons might contribute not only to spatial memory but also to flexible decision-making in rats.