ESI TALKS: Pierre-Yves Jacob

At this bi-weekly event, we invite speakers from Neuroscience and related fields to share their current research in an informal and casual environment. The ESITALKS last around 45 minutes, followed by discussions.

We are very happy to invite you to this ESITALKS about

New properties of space coding neurons in complex environments

Spatial navigation relies on a mental representation of space supported by the activity of space-coding neurons including place cells (PC), head direction cells (HDC), and grid cells (GC). The activity of PC, GD, and HDC has been mostly exclusively described in animals navigating in simple environments, in which they are trained to move to collect rewards randomly scattered on the floor. However, in everyday life, rodents or humans constantly move between connected places or rooms in which they have to find their way and most importantly reach for goals. Since most natural environments are composed of distinct connected spaces that we explore for specific purposes, my research focuses on how spatial neurons integrate two relevant features of space: a spatial goal and the connectivity between different rooms. My talk will be mainly based on two recent unpublished experiments. In the first study, I will show that the retrosplenial cortex contains two populations of head direction cells that may allow navigating between connected environments. In a second study, I will show that entorhinal grid cells lose their striking regular spatial pattern when an animal has to reach for a spatial goal in an environment. By discovering new properties of these spatial neurons in complex spaces, our team tries to understand the neurobiological bases of the cognitive map in more ecologically relevant environments than the ones traditionally used in laboratory settings.

To register for the upcoming session of ESITALKS please send an email to one of the hosts: nisa.cuevas(at), farzad.ziaie(at) or marius.schneider(at)

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