2022 Lecturer Dr. May-Britt Moser

Julius Axelrod Distinguished Visiting Neuroscientist Lecturer 2022

Photo of May-Britt Moser
Dr. May-Britt Moser

Dr. May-Britt Moser is a Professor of Neuroscience and Scientific Director of the Centre for Neural Computation Scientific Co-Director of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. She is interested in the neural basis of spatial location and spatial memory as well as cognitive functions more generally. Her work, conducted with Edvard Moser as a long-term collaborator, includes the discovery of grid cells in the entorhinal cortex, as well as the identification of other functional cell types, including head direction cells, border cells, speed cells and object-vector cells, as well as recent mechanisms for representation of episodic time – findings that collectively point to the entorhinal cortex as a hub for the brain network for representation of space and experience. She has shown that this network has adult-like properties from very early age in rodents, pointing to a possible innate basis for spatial coding by the brain. With her collaborators, she is beginning to unravel how the neural microcircuit is organized at the level of interactions between large numbers of diverse neurons with known functional identity – an endeavour that is significantly boosted by the recent development of Neuropixels probes and 2-photon miniscopes for simultaneous recording of thousands of neurons in freely-moving rats and mice (the latter developed in her lab). The discovery of grid cells and the underlying population dynamics have led to a revision of established views of how the brain calculates self-position, and how such information is stored in memory, and spatial mapping and is becoming one of the first non-sensory cognitive functions to be characterized at a mechanistic level in neural networks.

Dr. May-Britt Moser received her initial training at the University of Oslo, under the supervision of Dr. Per Andersen, on the structural basis of hippocampal memory, but during the PhD training she had several longer visits to Edinburgh to work with Dr. Richard Morris at the University of Edinburgh. She also spent a month in London in the lab of John O’Keefe at University College of London to learn single unit recordings. She has been a professor at NTNU since 2000. She has received numerous awards for her work. Together with Edvard Moser and John O’Keefe, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014.