Hippocampal-prefrontal interaction in schema generation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP


Our brain generates representations of stimuli and abstract rules to help us solve complex tasks that we encounter in everyday life. Past studies have shown how the neurons in the hippocampus could encode the structure of the world, the relationships between external entities such as the 2D space organising locations or the social hierarchy amongst animals. In contrast to this world structure, the medial frontal cortex (mFC) is implicated in representing behavioural structures, encoding rules that structure our complex goal-directed actions that could be generalised across different contexts. Our lab has investigated and revealed a potential mechanism of how medial frontal neurons may encode behavioural structures. Yet, how this representation interacts with representations of world structure out remains largely unknown and thus requires further investigation. Here, we aim to further probe how the hippocampal coding of world structures and the medial frontal coding of behavioural structures may interact to guide adaptive behaviour. We will achieve this by co-recording activity of the Hippocampus and mFC as animals perform goal-directed tasks and optogenetically manipulating the activity of Hippocampal neurons to assess causal interactions between both regions. These experiments should shed light on the interactions between two key regions implicated in generating flexible behaviour.

Relevant BBSRC priorities: Systems approaches to biosciences, data-driven biology.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/T008784/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2028
2735155 Studentship BB/T008784/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026