Carmen Varela, a research scientist at MIT, highlights the importance of interdisciplinarity in the study of intelligence, focusing on the hippocampus and its role in the formation of new memories and encoding of spatial information to support navigation. Dr. Varela demonstrates how place cells in the hippocampus of rats encode spatial location as they move through an environment, and briefly describes her work on the role of the thalamus in gating the transfer of information from the hippocampus to the neocortex.
- Carmen Varela’s website
- Varela, C., Kumar, S., Yang, J. Y. & Wilson, M. A. (2014) Anatomical substrates for direct interactions between hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex, and the thalamic nucleus reuniens, Brain Structure and Function 219(3):911-929.