VC Open Lecture with guest speakr Professor Edvard Moser

Topic: Neural computation of space and time

Date:     Wednesday, 22 March 2023
Time:    18:00 SAST
Venue:  Neuroscience Institute Auditorium, E-Floor, New main building, Groote Schuur Hospital, Observatory*
*Venue capacity has been reached.

I will review recent advances in our understanding of brain mechanisms for tracking space and time. I will show that the brain contains specialised place-coding cell types called grid cells and that a position code arises in networks of hundreds of interacting grid cells. Data suggest that the code is generated not primarily by integration of sensory inputs but rather by internal neural network dynamics. I will further demonstrate how a separate neural population encodes the passage of time, across scales from seconds to hours. The space- and time-coding networks are among the first to be hit in Alzheimer´s disease.

About our speaker:

Professor Edvard Moser is a professor in neuroscience and one of the Scientific Directors of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

His work, in collaboration with May-Britt Moser, includes the discovery of grid cells, a key element of the brain’s spatial mapping system. For this discovery, they were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. They shared the award with John O’Keefe, who had identified the brain’s place cells.

While the Mosers’ main focus is on the normal and healthy brain, their work has direct implications for our understanding of the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease, which at the earliest stages is characterised by neurodegeneration in the very same brain circuits for space, time and memory.