ELSC Seminar Series

Prof.  Nachum Ulanovsky

Weizmann Institute of Science
Department of Brain Sciences

Neural Codes for Natural Behaviors in Flying Bats

This talk will focus on the importance of using natural behaviors in neuroscience research – the “Natural Neuroscience” approach. I will illustrate this point by describing studies of neural codes for spatial behaviors and social behaviors, in flying bats – using wireless neurophysiology methods that we developed – and will highlight new neuronal representations that we discovered in animals navigating through 3D spaces, or in very large-scale environments, or engaged in social interactions. In particular, I will discuss: (1) A multi-scale neural code for very large environments, which we discovered in bats flying in a 200-meter long tunnel. This new type of neural code is fundamentally different from spatial codes reported in small environments – and we show theoretically that it is superior for representing very large spaces. (2) Rapid modulation of position × distance coding in the hippocampus during collision-avoidance behavior between two flying bats. This result provides a dramatic illustration of the extreme dynamism of the neural code. (3) Local-but-not-global order in 3D grid cells – a surprising experimental finding, which can be explained by a simple physics-inspired model, which successfully describes both 3D and 2D grids. These results strongly argue against many of the classical, geometrically-based models of grid cells. (4) I will also briefly describe new results on the social representation of other individuals in the hippocampus, in a highly social multi-animal setting. The lecture will propose that neuroscience experiments – in bats, rodents, monkeys or humans – should be conducted under evermore naturalistic conditions.

Seminar Date & Time:

January 13th, 2022
14:30 (IST)
Places still available
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Watch the seminar:

“Working memory”