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Nachum Ulanovsky

Neuroscience Symposium

Date 12 April 2024
Research group Keysers
Location Amsterdam
Program 4:00 p.m - Neural codes for natural behaviors in the hippocampus of flying bats.
4:45 p.m - Discussion and Drinks

Host: Christian Keysers
The Guest Speaker: Prof. N. Ulanovsky (Department of Brian Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.)

Title: Neural codes for natural behaviors in the hippocampus of 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 environments, as well as during social interactions. In particular, I will discuss two recent studies: (1) A multi-scale neural code for very large environments, which we discovered in the hippocampus of 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) I will also describe new results on the social representation of other individuals in the hippocampus, in a highly social multi-animal setting – which revealed complex neuronal coding of social variables – including the identity, sex, affiliation, and hierarchy of others. The lecture will propose that neuroscience experiments – in bats, rodents, monkeys or humans – should be conducted under evermore naturalistic conditions.

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