James Knierim PhD

Professor of Neuroscience

jknierim@jhu.edu
Telephone Number: 410-516-5170
Fax Number: 410-516-8648

The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience
Johns Hopkins University
Homewood Campus
3400 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218
Room: Krieger 337
Lab Page
Areas of Research
Systems, Cognitive + Computational Neuroscience
Neural Circuits, Ensembles + Connectomes

Graduate Program Affiliations

Neuroscience Training Program

Neurophysiology of Memory in the Hippocampal Formation

The hippocampus and medial temporal lobe structures are critically involved in spatial and episodic memory.  Work in our laboratory attempts to understand the flow of information through the hippocampal formation and the computations performed by the various subfields of the hippocampus and its inputs from the entorhinal cortex. To address these issues, we use multi-electrode arrays to record the extracellular action potentials from scores of well-isolated hippocampal neurons in freely moving rats. These neurons have the fascinating property of being selectively active when the rat occupies restricted locations in its environment. They are termed "place cells," and it has been suggested that these cells form a cognitive map of the environment (O'Keefe and Nadel, The hippocampus as a cognitive map). The animal uses this map to navigate efficiently in its environment and to learn and remember important locations. It is also hypothesized that these cells play a major role in the formation of episodic (autobiographical) memories. Place cells thus constitute a tremendous opportunity to investigate the mechanisms by which the brain transforms sensory input into an internal, cognitive representation of the world "out there" and then uses this representation as the framework that organizes and stores memories of past events.


Back to faculty profiles