Skip to main content

How the human thalamus guides navigation and memory: a common coding framework built on direct thalamic recordings

Objective

The thalamus is the major gateway for sensory input to the brain, and, as such, has long been thought of as a mere sensory relay station. But accumulating evidence suggests that it is crucially involved in higher cognitive functions like memory formation and navigation. However, methodological obstacles still impede full understanding of the specific role of thalamus in human cognition.
The core objective of DirectThalamus is to provide an advanced oscillatory model of subcortical processing as the neuronal basis of core cognitive functions. To this end, the project will address several key questions with the aim to identify and understand neuronal processing in the thalamus involved in human cognition: How does the human thalamus code and communicate information? And how does this contribute to spatial navigation and the formation and consolidation of memories?
Using my unique expertise in innovative methodologies, I will exploit the rare opportunity to record and modulate intracranial electrophysiological activity in the human anterior thalamus. Together with intracranial recordings from the human hippocampus and comparative fMRI data from healthy subjects, these data will be used to test and establish a common coding framework for memory and navigation, highlighting contextual information processing as fundamental thalamic function.
By directly recording and stimulating intracranial thalamic activity, DirectThalamus will provide novel and causal insight into thalamic mechanisms underlying core cognitive functions. The project will thereby push the boundaries of the state of the art in cognitive neuroscience towards a comprehensive understanding of cognition. Expanding the prevalent corticocentric focus on cognition to subcortical contributions will inspire new lines of research in fundamental and clinical neuroscience.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/data science/data processing
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/neurobiology
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/neurobiology/neuroscience/cognitive neuroscience
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/neurobiology/neuroscience

Call for proposal

ERC-2018-STG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-STG - Starting Grant

Host institution

LUDWIG-MAXIMILIANS-UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN
Address
Geschwister Scholl Platz 1
80539 Muenchen
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 499 914

Beneficiaries (1)

LUDWIG-MAXIMILIANS-UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN
Germany
EU contribution
€ 1 499 914
Address
Geschwister Scholl Platz 1
80539 Muenchen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments