Complex Spatial Navigation in the Rodent


(To follow the rules of epidemic prevention in Tsinghua University, please scan the code to sign up for the meeting.  Welcome to the online lecture, Tencent Conference  ID: 425 5756 6701; Password: 233333)


Time: 15:00-16:00 on Tue., June. 22, 2021

Venue: E109, Biomedicine Hall

Speaker: Dr. Jean-Marc Fellous

Host:   Dr. Bailong Xiao 

            Dr. Carlo V. Cannistraci

Title:Complex Spatial Navigation in the Rodent


In the reductionist tradition, spatial navigation in neuroscience has mostly been studied in relatively small and simple environments, suing simple tasks. It is clear however than complex spatial navigation in the ‘real world’ involves sophisticated reasoning at multiple spatial scales. I will present some recent behavioral and electrophysiological results using a spatial optimization task, a task involving rat-robot interactions, a task involving obstacle-rich environments and a task conducted in a very large ‘megaspace’. In this unusual but ethologically realistic environment, we found that place cells become multifield and multiscale, challenging therefore most of the common computational models and understanding of hippocampal codes. Understanding how the brain achieves efficient and complex spatial navigation is likely to provide new insights that may benefit Artificial Intelligence and robotics navigation algorithms.


Dr Fellous did his Engineering undergraduate work at the Ecole Centrale (Marseille, France) in Computer Languages and Electronics with a final internship at Imperial College (London, UK). He did his Masters in Artificial Intelligence and Pattern Recognition at Paris VI University (Paris, France) in Parallel Logic Programing and a Ph.D. In Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA), working on biologically inspired computational models of face recognition under the advising of Dr. M.A. Arbib and C. von der Malsburg. He then held a dual postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Dr J. Lisman at Brandeis University (Boston, MA) working on carbachol-driven oscillations in the hippocampal slice, and with Dr L. Zebrowitz on connectionists models of face perception. He then moved to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (San Diego, CA) in the laboratory of Dr T.J. Sejnowski to work on experimental and computational aspects of spike timing reliability and precision. Dr Fellous became an Assistant professor in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University (Durham, NC) in 2004, and joined the University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ) in 2006. He is currently a full tenured Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Biomedical Engineering, with affiliations in Neuroscience, Physiology, Applied Mathematics and Cognitive Science. He is the director of the Computational and Experimental Neuroscience Laboratory, continuously funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. The current interests of the laboratory include 1) Complex spatial navigation in large environments, 2) Memory consolidation during sleep, 3) The role of neuromodulatory substances in neural computations and 4) the neural bases of emotions.