Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Seminar Series Presents
Elizabeth Buffalo, PhD
Professor, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington
Host: Keren Haroush
For decades, our understanding of the hippocampus has been framed by two landmark discoveries: the discovery by Scoville and Millner that hippocampal damage causes profound and persistent amnesia and the discovery by O’Keefe and Dostrovsky of hippocampal place cells in rodents. However, it has been unclear to what extent spatial representations are present in the primate brain and how to reconcile these representations with the known mnemonic function of this region. I will discuss a series of experiments that have examined neural activity in the hippocampus and adjacent entorhinal cortex in monkeys performing behavioral tasks including spatial memory tasks in a virtual environment. These data demonstrate that spatial representations can be identified in the primate hippocampus, and that behavioral task structure has a significant influence on hippocampal activity, with neurons responding to all salient events within the task. Together, these data are consistent with the idea that activity in the hippocampus tracks ongoing experience in support of memory formation.