Nikolai Axmacher heads the Department of Neurpsychology at RUB.
The brain is capable of navigating complex environments. Grid cells play an important role in the process.
Grid cells were discovered in rodents; in humans, their function has not been fully understood to date. They are located in a small region of the brain, the entorhinal cortex, and exhibit a characteristic activity pattern that can be visualised by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Professor Nikolai Axmacher intends to investigate this pattern in detail with funds from the ERC Consolidator Grant. He combines imaging data with single-cell recordings in epilepsy patients who had thin electrodes inserted into their brains for surgical planning. Moreover, he pursues the question whether altered grid cell patterns are related to pathological changes in Alzheimer’s disease and whether grid cells are responsible for cognitive functions beyond spatial navigation.
Awarded in December 2019, the grant amounts to 2 million euros.