Open panel

Biopsychology seminar


  • Provide a forum for the presentation of work done by members of the behavioral neuroscience group.
  • Provide feedback concerning the material presented and the quality of the presentation.
  • Stimulate creativity and provide a basis for the development of critical thinking.
  • Hope that all this leads to publications and grants.

Types of Presentations

  • Design of a research project.
  • Data already collected as part of an ongoing project.
  • Professional issues.
  • Special faculty presentations.
  • Invited speakers.

Student Presentations

  • Plan to speak for about 20 min.
  • Use Power Point or similar.
  • Divide your talk as you would organize a paper.


  • Theoretical and applied relevance of the problem.
  • The method used or proposed.
  • The data obtained or expected.
  • Future directions.

Group Participation

  • Expect suggestions for improving your research and presentation.
  • Write down suggestions for future reference.
  • Think of the seminar as a friendly context to practice your scientific skills.


  • The Biopsychology Seminar started in 1994 and has been scheduled every semester since then.
  • Some invited speakers who contributed over the years include:
    • Abram Amsel (University of Texas, Austin)
    • Robert Batsell (Southern Methodist University)
    • Alan Daniel (Glenville State College)
    • Mike Domjan (University of Texas, Austin)
    • Perry Fuchs (University of Texas, Arlington)
    • Sue Grigson (Pennsylvania State University)
    • Masato Ishida (Osaka University of Education, Japan)
    • Joshua Jessel (Child Study Center, Fort Worth)
    • Bruce Overmier (University of Minnesota)
    • Jacob Norris (Naval Medical Research Center, Maryland)
    • Todd Roberts (University of Texas, Southwestern)
    • Tohru Taniuchi (Kanazawa University, Japan)
    • Carmen Torres (University of Jaen, Spain)
    • Christopher Watts (Texas Christian University)

Schedule: Fall Semester, 2017 

WEEKLY PRESENTATION TIME — Wednesdays 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.


8/23 – General Discussion
8/30 – Rat Olympics

9/6 – Sara Guarino
9/13 – Julia Peterman
9/20 – Joanna Thompson
9/27 – Lauren Cleland

10/4 – Karol Gryczynski (TCU Dept of Physics and Astronomy)
10/11 – Greg Repasky (TCU Dept of Psychology)
10/18 – Kelly Brice
10/25 – Shannon Conrad

11/1 – Jordon White
11/8 – Bailey Devine
11/15 – No meeting: SfN
11/22 – Thanksgiving break
11/29 – Vishal Thakkar


Wednesday Afternoon Seminar Series:  Win 228 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

12/6 – Isabel Muzzio (Dept Biology, U of Texas-San Antonio)

Hippocampal representations of heading retrieval and context identity during reorientation

Abstract. Behavioral evidence indicates that most vertebrates, from rodents to humans, primarily rely on spatial geometry, i.e., the shape of the navigable space, to reorient in space when lost. However, little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying this behavior. We recently found that although spatial geometry is used to determine facing direction within a context (heading retrieval), non-geometric visual cues are simultaneously used to identify the context where the animal is lost (place recognition). To determine the cellular correlates of heading retrieval, we first recorded hippocampal CA1 place cells of disoriented mice during foraging under no task contingencies in environments of distinct geometrical shape, each containing a unique polarizing visual cue. We found that the orientation of the hippocampal map was determined by the spatial geometry, not the polarizing visual cue. We then found that the orientation of the hippocampal map predicted reorientation behavior during the execution of a goal-oriented reorientation task on a trial-by-trial basis. Finally, to determine what happens with the hippocampal map in situations of contextual ambiguity, when the animals need to simultaneously recover their heading and determine the identity of the context where they are located, we recorded from hippocampal CA1 place cells of disoriented mice in a novel two chamber reorientation task. We found that the orientation of the place field map within each chamber was determined exclusively by spatial geometry, providing a coding mechanism for heading retrieval. However, firing rates significantly differed between the two chambers, providing a coding mechanism for place recognition. These results suggest that there are separate cognitive systems for place recognition and heading retrieval, which differentially rely on non-geometric features and geometry, respectively. These processes are represented in distinct manners in the hippocampus using a firing rate and a map orientation code.