Swammerdam Lecture Elizabeth Buffalo

SWAMMERDAM LECTURE - Tuesday October 11th 2022 at 16:00

Prof. dr. Elizabeth Buffalo

Neural Dynamics of Memory Formation in the Primate Hippocampus


Buffalo Lab, University of Washington, USA

Date / time

Tuesday October 11th 2022 at 16:00


Shanice Beerepoot, MD MSc. & Koen Seignette, MSc.


Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
Colloquium room
Meibergdreef 47, Amsterdam

Prior to her lecture, Elizabeth will give a masterclass for a group of ONWAR PhD candidates (from 14:00 to 16:00). For more information, see below

The lecture is followed by a reception

Our understanding of the hippocampus has been framed by two landmark discoveries: the discovery by Scoville and Millner that hippocampal damage causes profound and persistent amnesia and the discovery by O’Keefe and Dostrovsky of hippocampal place cells in rodents. However, it has been unclear to what extent spatial representations are present in the primate brain and how to reconcile these representations with the known mnemonic function of this region. I will discuss a series of experiments that have examined neural activity in the hippocampus and adjacent entorhinal cortex in monkeys performing behavioral tasks including spatial memory tasks in a virtual environment. These data demonstrate that behavioral task structure has a significant influence on hippocampal activity, with neurons responding to all salient events within the task. Taken together, these data are consistent with the idea that activity in the hippocampus tracks ongoing experience in support of memory formation.

Beth Buffalo is a neuroscientist exploring the neural mechanisms that support learning and memory. She is widely recognized for her studies on the relationships between eye movements and neural activity in the hippocampus and adjacent cortical structures, and for her discovery of grid cells in the macaque entorhinal cortex related to eye movements. Dr. Buffalo received a B.A. in Philosophy from Wellesley College, and an M.A. (Philosophy) and Ph.D. (Neurosciences) from the University of California, San Diego. She was a postdoctoral scholar in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Buffalo joined the faculty at Emory University in 2005, and then moved her lab to the University of Washington in 2013, where she currently is the Wayne E. Crill Endowed Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics. She has received several awards for her research including the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences for her innovative, multidisciplinary study of the hippocampus and the neural basis of memory. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Masterclass (14:00-16:00)

We are organizing a masterclass for interested PhD students that will take place at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (in person) right before the lecture 14:00-16:00h. The masterclass will be an informal yet in-depth discussion on your research, with input from Elizabeth as well as other attending PhD candidates. The exact format will depend on the number of interested PhD candidates, but will consist of short talks by candidates on their PhD work followed by a general discussion on the data and related topics.

We highly encourage you to sign up for this masterclass as it is a great opportunity to get expert feedback on your work. Please keep in mind that the discussion will be most useful for all attendees if the speakers are PhD students with a project (in a relatively advanced stage) that is at least somewhat related to Elizabeth’s work (neural mechanisms of learning and memory).

If you are interested in this masterclass,  please send an email to Koen Seignette (k.seignette@nin.knaw.nl) with a brief (few sentences) motivation why you would like to join as a presenter. If you wish to join the discussion without presenting, also just let us know so we can get an estimate.


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