Head direction cells in the hippocampal formation (PhD)

Head direction cells, in the hippocampal formation, have been characterised in a variety of animals, but have not yet been detected in humans. The first stage of the PhD aims to detect the signal generated by these cells using fMRI. By scanning volunteers while they watch a video exploring a virtual environment, their head direction cell activity can be correlated with their direction in the virtual environment. Being able to extract such information will prove the head direction signal occurs in humans, and will help localise where in the human brain such a signal can be found. Finally the method could be applied to other subjects, such as those with vestibular lesions.

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Related Publications and Presentations

  • Matthijs Van Der Meer, Zoe Richmond, Emma Wood, Rodrigo M. Braga, and Paul A Dudchenko, “Evidence for the use of an internal sense of direction in homing”, Behavioral Neuroscience, 2010, 124(1), 164-9.

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