Meet your brain’s GPS, the Hippocampus!

Heloisa Chiossi, PhD Student
Yosman BapatDhar, PhD Student

Research Group Csicsvari, IST Austria

Fachgebiet: Electrophysiology
Was ist es: How do you successfully get from home to school everyday? If I place you near the Augarten will you be able to navigate to the Stephansdom?

You need a special region of your brain, the Hippocampus, in order to navigate through the space you live in. This region of the brain has specialized cells, place cells, that each code for a specific location in space. Isn’t that cool?

In the lab, we work with rats to try and understand how this region of the brain works, and how it communicates with other regions of the brain, using an amazing technique called electrophysiology. Since the way neurons ‘talk’ (or fire action potentials) is essentially a change in voltage signals we can ‘listen’ to neurons by inserting electrodes (electric wires) and recording the changes in voltage. If we ‘listen’ to a rat’s place cells as it runs through a maze we can try and understand how the brain helps you in navigating through space!
Our booth will have posters and games that will be designed to demonstrate how the brain performs the complex task of spatial navigation.