Pre-configured and learned properties of hippocampal circuits
Dr Francesca Cacucci
University College London
Recent technical advances have led to a rapid growth in our understanding of the molecular and anatomical diversity of the nervous system and how information is stored and manipulated by neural circuits. However, we still have a limited grasp of how the brain’s structural and functional complexity emerges during development.
We aim to find out how the neural circuits required for complex behaviours are assembled during development, which aspects of brain development rely on intrinsic, experience-independent process, and which require extensive learning about the world. We will focus on the neural circuits of the hippocampus, a brain structure we know is important for learning, remembering events and spatial orientation. We will monitor and manipulate neural activity during early development, to define the relative roles of early embryonic events and post-natal learning in the expression of memory and spatial navigation.
Our findings will contribute to the knowledge we have about the brain’s structural and functional development.