Emilio Kropff

Start Year: 2018
Starting Institution: Leloir Institute - IIBBA - CONICET
Current Institution: Leloir Institute - IIBBA - CONICET
Project Title: Electrophysiology of leadership and social navigation in rodents.

Often when we explore a new environment in group, one person becomes the leader. After some time, the leader has acquired a detailed representation of the environment that the rest of the group (the followers) cannot match. Although it is normal to experience this phenomenon, the brain mechanisms responsible for it are unknown. How is it that a similar experience impacts differently in the brain of leaders and followers? What are the strategies that each of them follow to process information? These questions will be addressed by recording neural activity in the hippocampus (a part of the brain’s GPS) of rats navigating through a maze in search of a collective reward. Differences between leaders and followers are expected in the activity of individual neurons and in local field potential oscillations. In more general terms, the project aims to unveil mechanisms by which the brain can switch between working modalities, translatable into social roles such as leader or follower, in order to maximize reward or efficiency.