This visualization shows two-photon imaging of GCamp6f in hippocampal pyramidal neurons as a mouse navigates a virtual reality maze. These techniques give us an indirect measure of activity in neurons or small compartments of neurons in an awake, behaving animal. The hippocampus has been well characterized as playing an essential role in episodic memory. Many hippocampal neurons are “place cells,” cells that fire when an animal is in a specific area of the environment. We can also teleport animals to a new environment and watch as these representations form. Using novel statistical, genetic, and microscopy tools we are examining the mechanisms that underlie this process to better understand memory and navigation.
This is a mouse brain thinking. Your brain is made up of neurons that send messages to each other. These ones glow when messages are fired off. Using a trick of quantum physics, researchers can see the cells glow through layers of brain. You’re watching a mouse’s hippocampus as it runs in virtual-reality, helping us understand how we navigate and form memories.