When animals search for food, water, or mates, they have to simultaneously process reward-related information and navigate through their environment. The dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are known to have roles in reward learning, approach behaviours and spatial memory. As part of my PhD, I am using a virtual reality task and a genetically-encoded calcium indicator confined to dopaminergic cells to investigate the role of VTA dopaminergic neurons in simultaneous reward processing and navigation in vivo.
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