Pieter Goltstein
Pieter Goltstein

Using visual category learning to investigate brain-wide circuits underlying semantic memory in mice

Thursday 10 October 2024, 4 pm

Categorization is a fundamental cognitive process by which we classify and rapidly generalize learned and novel information. But how are category-defining associations represented in the brain? In this talk I will present my work on studying neuronal circuits for visual category learning in mice. I will show how the representation of a learned visual category emerges over time in the mouse visual and prefrontal cortex and identify a possible mechanism by which sensory neurons can acquire category selectivity. Furthermore, I will present recent data on a new approach for studying brain-wide activity patterns, as well as long-range synaptic networks, involved in learning visual associations. Ultimately, the aim of my research is to identify brain-wide neuronal circuits and computations underlying learned categorization and thereby provide insights into the basic implementation of semantic memory in the brain.

(very) short biography

Presently, I am a postdoctoral researcher working with Mark Hübener and Tobias Bonhoeffer at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence in Munich. During my postdoc I developed paradigms for studying the neuronal and synaptic basis of category learning in mice, with the goal to understand neuronal mechanisms underlying semantic memory. During my early scientific training I have obtained a Bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology and received a PhD degree in Neurobiology from the University of Amsterdam, investigating effects of learning and behavioral state on primary visual cortex.