Maps and Goals for Spatial Navigation
The Lee lab uses multiple techniques to understand spatial processing and memory. They use extracellular recording to monitor the simultaneous activity of large numbers of neurons while an animal explores new spatial environments (Rich et al 2014) and learns locations of importance (e.g. where rewards are). This allows them to get an overall picture of the neural circuits underlying these behaviors. In order to monitor and manipulate the activity of a single neuron in much greater detail, they have developed methods to do intracellular recording in freely moving animals (Lee et al 2014). This allows the lab to more directly study the cellular mechanisms of spatial processing during behavior (Epsztein et al 2011, Lee et al 2012). They also employ methods to monitor and manipulate activity in animals fixed in place while behaving in virtual spaces, which allows precise control of the sensory environment that the animals interact with.