Columbia University in the City of New York

How Does the Brain Explore?

New mouse study reveals brain cells that identify familiar locations

From Arctic adventurers to supermarket shoppers, we all need to explore a new environment now and then. And the ability to scout out a locale, to find food and other resources, is key to survival in the wild.


New research described here investigates a neural mechanism that helps mice find their way around – and reveals the surprising role of a brain region usually associated with fear. 


This work, detailed in Cell, comes from the laboratory of Rui Costa, DVM, PhD, director and CEO of Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute. The first author is Paolo Botta, PhD, a former postdoctoral fellow in the lab.

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