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Mapping Space in the Hippocampal Formation: External Inputs and Internal Dynamics
Start Date: 1/14/2019Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Date: 1/14/2019End Time: 1:30 PM

Event Description
BIOMED Special Seminar

Mapping Space in the Hippocampal Formation: External Inputs and Internal Dynamics

Francesco Savelli, PhD
Assistant Research Scientist
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience 
Neurons in the hippocampal formation encode one’s position in a world-based coordinate system, but they do not merely represent the spatial coincidence of sensory cues such as landmarks; rather, they reflect a cognitive abstraction of the surrounding space. This “cognitive map” is likely built from the interplay of (i) path integration—an internal computation that transforms a sense of motion into a sense of location studied in ethology, cognitive science, robotics and neuroscience—and (ii) external landmark inputs.

Dr. Savelli will present experimental and theoretical work that illuminates how different classes of spatial cells such as place, grid, and boundary cells take part in this computational framework. Future work will address (a) whether path integration originates from subcortical oscillations; (b) the functional contributions of path integration to the properties that have historically implicated place cells in the neural basis of the cognitive map; and (c) whether similar computational principles are at work when the hippocampal formation builds non-spatial representations, possibly reconciling its spatial and declarative memory functions—a key challenge facing neuroscience.

Francesco Savelli, PhD, is an assistant research scientist in the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is also a research member of the Knierim Lab at The Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute. His skills and areas of expertise include data analysis, cognitive neuroscience, learning and memory, Python, C++, electrophysiology, knowledge representation, in vivo electrophysiology, computational neuroscience, knowledge engineering, cognitive robotics, neural coding, spike sorting, LFP, formal logic, and single-unit recording.
Contact Information:
Name: Ken Barbee
Phone: 215-895-1335
Email: barbee@drexel.edu
Francesco Savelli
Bossone Research Center, Room 709, located at 32nd and Market Streets.
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