NYSCF Investigator Unearths Complexity in Brain Navigation System
NYSCF – Robertson Neuroscience Investigator Dr. Lisa Giocomo and a team at Stanford University published their recent work in Neuron investigating how navigation works in the brain. Grid cells, commonly known as the GPS of the brain, along with border, head direction, and speed cells comprise the four main types of cells in the navigation system in mammalian brains. The scientists found that the navigation system and the cells that comprise it are much more complex and multifaceted than previously assumed. Instead of distinct cell types, they found that many cells displayed characteristics of multiple cell types and even the flexibility to display traits of one type followed by the traits of another.
This work upends the assumption that our navigational brain function can be mapped with a mathematical model. Much more research is needed to fully understand the navigation process, including a fundamental reassessment of the mechanisms in play.