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Prof Francesca Cacucci

Principal Investigator

I am interested in brain circuits, memory, space, time, origins and endings.

Publications | ResearchGate

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Dr Joshua Bassett

Post-doc

I study the head direction system to understand how a group of neurons can be organised to compute integration over time.  More generally, I’m interested in how sensory and motor signals contribute to cognitive representations, how brains and cognition evolve, and comparative neuroanatomy.

Publications | ResearchGate | e-mail

twitter: @joshbassett

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Dr Guifen Chen

Post-doc

I am interested in the neural mechanisms underlying spatial cognition and episodic memory in the hippocampus, with a focus on understanding the spatial firing patterns of place cells and grid cells. Previous work at UCL included the development of a 1D virtual reality system for mice, which enabled a demonstration of the heterogeneity of place cell responses with regards to self-motion versus visual information. Another study, performed on grid cells in a real-world environment, showed that the periodicity and stability of the grid pattern relies on external sensory inputs to reset errors accumulated by pure path integration.

Recently I have developed a 2D virtual reality system for mice, in which the mouse’s head is restricted to rotations within the horizontal plane. Using this setup, in conjunction with electrophysiological recordings and 2-photon imaging, I am examining how grid cells and place cells integrate different sensory inputs to encode space.

Publications | ResearchGate | e-mail

Dr Laurenz Muessig

Post-doc

I am interested in the functional development of the neural circuits underlying memory consolidation and episodic memory. Currently, I am using place cells in the rodent hippocampus as a model system to probe how and at what point in early development (2-5 week old animals) the system thought to be underlying memory consolidation emerges. In particular, I am trying to understand when the ordered reactivation of place cell sequences during sleep (replay) first appears. More generally, I am also interested in the functional maturation of other building blocks of the hippocampal cognitive map (e.g. grid cells or head direction cells) and how their development might relate to the emergence of the rodent behavioural repertoire.

I did my PhD in the Cacucci lab, but now work in the Wills Lab.

Publications | e-mail

Yi Lu

PhD Student

I am interested in the hippocampal-entorhinal system. How it supports navigation and memory, and how is information (e.g. sensory and self-motion information) integrated to form spatial and temporal representation. 

Alice O’Leary

PhD Student

Most broadly, I am interested in how memory is represented in the brain. In my PhD I am using two-photon imaging to investigate how hippocampal place codes form and change as a function of time and experience, I am doing my PhD jointly, under the supervision of Prof Francesca Cacucci, Dr Tom Wills and Dr Caswell Barry. Outside of the lab I enjoy running and singing choral music.

e-mail

Tara O’Driscoll

PhD Student

I am a PhD student on the BBSRC London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme, and doing my PhD jointly between the Cacucci lab and the Wills lab. My research interests include the development of the cognitive map, and how this emerges & stabilises with early sensory experience. 

LinkedIn | e-mail

Isabella Varsavsky

PhD Student

I am studying the development of the neural circuits responsible for memory. I am doing my PhD at the Wills Lab and work in collaboration with the Cacucci team. 

ResearchGate | e-mail

Megan Powell

Lab Manager

I am a Clinical Neuroscience MSc graduate turned lab manager for the Cacucci lab. I am interested in how the cells responsible for encoding space arise during development, and how spatial information is stored in memory. I am also interested in how and why spatial cognition can degenerate. Please contact me if you have any questions for the lab, or to apply to PhD opportunities!

e-mail