Circuitry and Mathematical Codes for Navigation in the Brain

Lecture | March 5 | 4-5 p.m. | Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium

 Ila Fiete, University of Texas at Austin

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

I will review key aspects of the problem of navigation and describe the brain's circuits that participate in navigation. These circuits contain cells with remarkable responses to spatial variables, and include head-direction cells, grid cells, and place cells. I'll illustrate the head-direction circuit and code across species from insects to mammals. I'll focus on the bizzare, non-local, periodic code of grid-cells for spatial location, a non-periodic, local quantity. Finally, given that spatial computations unfold over time, I will review theoretical and experimental efforts that show the temporal dynamics of navigational computations. I will mention open questions throughout.

Ila Fiete is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and the Institute for Neuroscience, at UT Austin. She obtained her PhD at Harvard under the guidance of Sebastian Seung at MIT. Her postdoctoral work was at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at Santa Barbara, and at Caltech, where she was a Broad Fellow. Ila Fiete is a fellow in the Center for Learning and Memory and an HHMI Faculty Scholar. She has been a McKnight Scholar, an ONR Young Investigator, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow and a Searle Scholar.

Light refreshments will be served before the lecture at 3:30 p.m.