Tag Archives: Kavli

Christian Doeller wins Radboud Science Award

CD_2 copy

Dr. Christian Doeller is head of the Doeller research group at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience

Christian Doeller at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience has been awarded the Radboud Science Award for his research on how the brain links memories of different events to form one coherent memory. To answer this question, he and his team used pictures and videos of the computer game “The Sims” to create stories. They then showed these stories to participants lying in an MRI scanner and recorded brain activity while people remembered events. They found that the brain forms memory networks of related events which are encoded hierarchically in a brain structure called the hippocampus. How these memory hierarchies are organized resembles what is known about how space is encoded in the brain. “Our findings might point towards a more general code for cognition” says Christian Doeller. “Our memories are what defines our personality and improving our understanding of these mechanisms will be crucial in understanding cognition and neural breakdown in neurodegenerative diseases”.

Screenshots from the computer game showed to participants while recording their brain activity in an MRI scanner.

Screenshots from the computer game showed to participants while recording their brain activity in an MRI scanner

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Neurological, NTNUmedicine, Research

Moser and Moser elected for membership to the Leopoldina Nationale Akademie der Wissenshaften

Leopoldina-og-Mosers_web

 

Professors May-Britt and Edvard Moser at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience have been elected for membership to the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. The election of new academy members is said to be a rigorous process, and demands a consensus of agreement between the Presidium and the Senators of the academy. The election to the academy was made in recognition of their scientific achievements and their personal standings.

 

The professors Moser are also elected as foreign members to the National Academy of Sciences since 2014, and to the National Academy of Medicine since 2015.

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under NTNUmedicine

Kavli Neuroscience Prize 2016

 

The Kavli Prize in Neuroscience is shared between Eve Marder, Brandeis University, USA, Michael Merzenich, University of California San Francisco, USA, and Carla Shatz, Stanford University, USA. They receive the prize “for the discovery of mechanisms that allow experience and neural activity to remodel brain function”.

 

From left: Eve Marder, Brandeis University, USA; Michael Merzenich, University of California San Francisco, USA; Carla Shatz, Stanford University, USA.

 

Keeping the old tricks and learning new ones: how the brain remains stable yet flexible
Until the 1970s, neuroscientists largely believed that by the time we reach adulthood the architecture of the brain is hard-wired and relatively inflexible. The ability of nerves to grow and form abundant new connections was thought mainly to occur during infancy and childhood. This view supported the notion that it is easier for children to learn new skills such as a language or musical instrument than it is for adults. Over the past 40 years, however, the three Kavli neuroscience prize-winners have challenged these assumptions and provided a convincing view of a far more flexible adult brain than previously thought possible — one that is ‘plastic’, or capable of remodeling. Working in different model systems, each researcher has focused on how experience can alter both the architecture and functioning of nerve circuits throughout life, given the right stimulus and context. They have provided a physical and biochemical understanding of the idea of ‘use it, or lose it’. This new picture of a more adaptable brain offers hope for developing new ways to treat neurological conditions that were once considered untreatable.

 

Michael Merzenich demonstrated that sensory circuits in the cerebral cortex can be reorganized by experience in adulthood. Different parts of the body are represented in a continuous map in the somatosensory cortex. After demonstrating reorganization of this map after injury, Merzenich showed that simply expanding or limiting the use of different fingers leads to a corresponding change in the representation of the hand in the brain. Similarly, he showed that the auditory cortex can change its map of sound frequencies after individuals are trained to detect fine differences in pitch. This discovery helps explain how humans can recover their perception of speech with electronic cochlear implants, which generate signals much simpler than normal auditory inputs. Merzenich showed that neuromodulators as well as cognitive factors including attention determine whether adult plasticity takes place. This work is being extended in humans to maximize learning and recovery from brain injury and disease.

 

Carla Shatz showed how patterns of activity in the developing brain instruct and refine the arrangement of synapses between neurons. She demonstrated that the formation of appropriate connections between the eye and the brain of mammals depends on neuronal activity before birth. She discovered that spontaneous waves of activity sweep across the retina early in development, and showed that these organized activity patterns select the final set of connections from a coarse, genetically-determined map. Her demonstration that “neurons that fire together, wire together” links the mechanisms of brain wiring during development to those underlying adult learning and memory.

 

Eve Marder used the simple circuits of crustaceans to elucidate the dynamic interplay between flexibility and stability in the nervous system. She showed that numerous neuromodulators reconfigure the output of adult neural circuits without altering their underlying anatomy. At the same time, she found that circuits can generate similar neuronal and network outputs from many different configurations of intrinsic neuronal excitability and synaptic strength. This apparent paradox was solved by her recognition that neurons have a self-regulating homeostatic programme that drives them to a stable target activity level. With the other two Kavli Prize laureates, Marder defined the mechanisms by which brains remain stable while allowing for change during development and learning.

Illustration showing the action of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline in the synaptic cleft. Vesicles containing the neurotransmitter (green) move towards the pre-synaptic membrane where they fuse with the cell membrane, releasing their contents into the synaptic cleft. The neurotransmitter molecules act on the post-synaptic cell by binding to specific receptors on the cell surface (purple). They can also be taken back up by the presynaptic cell via other receptors (orange) for re-use. (Credit: Arran Lewis, Wellcome Images)

 

About the Kavli Prizes
The Kavli Prize is a partnership between the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation (USA) and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The Kavli Prizes were initiated by and named after Fred Kavli (1927-2013), founder of The Kavli Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work. Kavli Prize recipients are chosen biennially by three prize committees comprised of distinguished international scientists recommended by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Society, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society. After the prize committees have selected the award recipients, their recommendations are confirmed by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

 

The 2016 Kavli Prizes will be awarded in Oslo, Norway, on 6 September. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon will present the prizes to the laureates. This year’s ceremony will be hosted by Alan Alda and Lena Kristin Ellingsen. Prime Minister Erna Solberg will host a banquet at Oslo City Hall in honour of the laureates. The ceremony is part of Kavli Prize Week – a week of special programmes to celebrate extraordinary achievements in science. Prize lectures and symposia in neuroscience and nanoscience will be held in Trondheim on 8 September.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Neurological, NTNUmedicine

Ask a researcher: Spatial memory

This time Debora Ledergerber, Researcher at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience/Centre for Neural Computation/Egil and Pauline and Fred Kavli Centre for Cortical Microcircuits, will answer questions from one of our readers.

Q:

My husband has close to no spatial memory (hand-eye coordination is far above average and making maps is part of his job). He gets lost moving around the small town we live in and has no internal map to help him navigate. This has been a problem all his life – as a teenager his dog almost died from exhaustion after walking around with him in his home town for hours, being lost.

Could this be something like dyslexia? Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Neurological, NTNUmedicine, Spør en forsker

We owe it to society to find the causes of Alzheimer’s disease

31.03.2016 Bent Høie at Kavli 2_corr_crop

The Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie in conversation with the researchers at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience. Photo credits: Frode Nikolaisen / St. Olavs Hospital

The Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie visited the Kavli Institute today. On the agenda was Alzheimer’s disease.

Bent Høie wanted to know if the researchers at the Kavli Institute had new ideas about what causes brain cells to die In Alzheimer’s disease.

– We know a lot about what Alzheimer’s does in animal models, May-Britt Moser explained.
– And we know that the brain structures that are affected early on in these disease models are very similar to those in humans. But we still need to relate these findings to the disease in humans. This is why we are planning to put together a new Center for connecting and translating knowledge between basic research on animal models and clinical research on humans.

– International Alzheimer’s research has been following the wrong track for too long. It has been based on assumptions that have turned out to be misleading. Brain plaques proved to be a red herring. We now have to go back to the drawing board and bring forward new ideas and new concepts, said Menno Witter.

– What we do know about the disease today, is that the very first areas of the brain that are affected include the structures where navigation and memory take place. We at the Kavli Institute have the expertise, the tools, and the technology that is required to understand the functions of these areas, as well as what might go wrong there at the early stages of the disease. We are among the wealthiest countries in the world, Edvard Moser said.
– I feel we are morally obliged to help solve one of the greatest challenges for global health of our time.

From left: Professor Menno Witter, State Secretary Anne Grethe Erlandsen, Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie, Professor Edvard Moser, and Professor May-Britt Moser. Photo credits: Frode Nikolaisen / St. Olavs Hospital

From left: Professor Menno Witter, State Secretary Anne Grethe Erlandsen, Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie, Professor Edvard Moser, and Professor May-Britt Moser. Photo credits: Frode Nikolaisen / St. Olavs Hospital

Leave a Comment

Filed under NTNUmedicine

Funding for Alzheimer’s disease research from Olav Thon Foundation

Menno Witter and Clifford Kentros.

Menno Witter and Clifford Kentros.

The Olav Thon foundation announced today that Menno Witter will receive 10 million NOK for a collaborative project with Cliff Kentros, also at the Kavli Institue at NTNU, and Gunnar Gouras at Lund University and Heikki Tanila at the University of Eastern Finland.

The project ‘Interactions between reelin and amyloid in the entorhinal cortex – A possible initiator of Alzheimer’s disease’, is based on a new concept on one of the possible early stages of the disease, suggesting that the interactions between reelin and amyloid will eventually lead to neuron loss.

According to the Olav Thon Foundation’s evaluation, the hypothesis is original and innovative.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Neurological, NTNUmedicine, Research

Presidential Lecture in Chicago with a newly created video

Blogger: Nancy Reney Bazilchuk                              nancy
Journalist og engelsk redaktør i Gemini.no

 

When May-Britt Moser gave her Nobel Prize lecture last December, she wowed the audience with a series of specially created videos designed to help visualize different aspects of brain research, from how our sense of smell helps bring back memories, to the mystery and excitement of discovering patterns in the data she and her colleagues at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience/Centre for Neural Computation collect in the laboratory.

MB_SFN_Chicago_2015

May-Britt Moser helding her Presidential Lecture at the Society for Neuroscience conference on brain research in Chicago. Photo: Haagen Andreas Waad

When Moser gave the last of four Presidential Lectures late last month at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago, she used the same approach, but this time with a newly created video entitled “My Running Rat.” The Presidential Lectures are the highlight of the conference, which this year attracted more than 30,000 attendees from 80 countries.

Moser’s talk was entitled “Grid Cells and Cortical Maps for Space”, where she described the medial entorhinal cortex and its role as part of the brain’s circuit for dynamic representation of self-location.

May-Britt Moser and her colleague Edvard Moser were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with their mentor and colleague John O’Keefe “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.” The Mosers were recognized for their 2005 discovery of grid cells, and for their subsequent research that showed how place and grid cells make it possible to determine position and to navigate. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under NTNUmedicine

The Kavli Foundation and University Partners Commit $100 Million to Brain Research

The Kavli Foundation and its university partners announced today the commitment of more than $100 million in new funds to enable research aimed at deepening our understanding of the brain. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under NTNUmedicine

Yasser Roudi on “Top 10 list” of Up-and-Coming Stars of Science

screen grab from science newsTo identify some of the early-career scientists on their way to more widespread acclaim, Science News surveyed 30 Nobel Prize winners to learn whose work has caught their attention. From those names, Science News editors chose 10 to feature in this special report. All have demonstrated high-caliber research leading to noteworthy achievements.

Among these we find our very own group leader and Professor of  Computational Neuroscience  Yasser Roudi.

Both “Meet 10 scientists who are making their mark” in Science News, and the story on Yasser Roudis research “Yasser Roudi: Creating maps in the brain“, are well worth reading.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under NTNUmedicine

Edvard Moser becomes external member of the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology

Edvard Moser is appointed External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Neurobiology in Martinsried near Munich

web page notification of Edvard Mosers appointment to Max PlanckOver the last couple of years Edvard Moser and scientists of the MPI of Neurobiology are closely collaborating. As part of this scientific exchange, Edvard Moser has spent many days and weeks at the Institute in Martinsried. Currently, he and Tobias Bonhoeffer, director at the MPI of Neurobiology, work on imaging the activity of grid cells with the help of 2-Photon-Microscopy. Based on the existing intense collaboration the directors of the Institute proposed to appoint Edvard Moser as External Scientific Member of the MPI of Neurobiology. Edvard Moser has accepted this offer and has thereby also become a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society. The MPI of Neurobiology has now three External Scientific Members:

  • Prof. Dr. Yves-Alain Barde, Cardiff School of Biosciences (UK)
  • Prof. Dr. Reinhard Hohlfeld, Institute for Clinical Neuroimmunology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
  • Prof. Dr. Edvard Moser, Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for Neural Computation (Trondheim/Norway)

Leave a Comment

Filed under Neurological, NTNUmedicine