May-Britt Moser

Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Election Year: 2014
Primary Section: 28, Systems Neuroscience
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Biosketch

May-Britt Moser is a Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Centre for Neural Computation at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. She is interested in the neural basis of spatial location and spatial specifically and cognition more generally. Her work, conducted with Edvard Moser as a long-term collaborator, includes the discovery of grid cells in the entorhinal cortex. The discovery of grid cells was succeeded by identification of other functional cell types, including head direction cells, conjunctive cells and border cells and collectively the findings point to the entorhinal cortex as a hub for the brain network that makes us find our way. May-Britt Moser received her initial training at the University of Oslo under the supervision of Dr. Per Andersen. She worked as a post-doc with Richard Morris and John O’Keefe in 1996, before she accepted a faculty position at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She became a Co-Director of the Centre for the Biology of Memory in 2002 and the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in 2007. In 2012, she was appointed Director of the newly established Centre for Neural Computation. Together with Edvard Moser, she has received a number of awards, including the 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology.

Research Interests

The focus of my work is on the neurobiology of learning and spatial representation, with a particular emphasis on the function of cortico-hippocampal subregions. Throughout my scientific career I have focused my research on spatial navigation and memory. Most of my research has been performed in collaboration with my long-term collaborator Edvard Moser. With the combination of advanced inactivation techniques, anatomical approaches and recording methods, our efforts have resulted in several discoveries. The most spectacular finding was probably the discovery of grid cells in the entorhinal cortex. The discovery of grid cells was succeeded by the identification of other functional cell types, including head direction cells, border cells and speed cells. Collectively the findings point to the entorhinal cortex as a hub for the brain network that makes us find our way. In combination with the place cells of the hippocampus, the entorhinal network may provide a ‘coordinate system’ for on-line measurement of distance and direction within given constellations of landmarks. Grid cells may not only help us understand spatial representation but may also become one of the first functions to be characterized at a mechanistic level in neuronal networks

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