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  • Writer's picturePlanet PhD

How does your brain know where you are?

We take a step into the world of neuroscience for the first time since learning not very much about frog brains during Biology Undergraduate....

Dori works with the cells in the brain's hippocampus that tell you where you are: ‘place cells’ are important for spatial navigation and memory. We discover whether animals that hide food have more place cells, how this relates to taxi and bus drivers, and how bats have been shown to have ‘social place cells’ which seem to be mapping where their friend is.

We also discuss the challenges and ethics of working with live study animals. Dori tells us about their awesome experimental set-up in which they use VR technology and microscopy to investigate how place cells in mouse brains respond to specific...places.

Veronica signs herself up to be a human model for place cell investigation before learning what this would involve…

Dori also tells us about their work outside their PhD raising the visibility of LGBT+ scientists with the initiative “Out and About Scientists”. They are planning an event on 25 February at Sussex University – see Twitter for more information.

Dori Grijseels is a PhD student on the 4-year Neuroscience PhD program at the University of Sussex, UK. Their research focuses on a brain area called the hippocampus and the role of the neurons in the hippocampus in spatial navigation. To investigate this, they spend most of their time in a dark room with mice who are navigating through a virtual reality world.

Dori is also involved with the Out and About STEM initiative at Sussex University, which aims to improve the visibility of LGBT+ scientists. They have previously organised a LGBT scientists showcase, and are planning an LGBT in STEM Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for LGBT history month.

Follow Dori on Twitter: @DoriekeMG, and find out more about Out and About STEM on

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