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Menno Witter was born in The Netherlands in 1953. He did his PhD with professors Anthony Lohman and Fernando Lopes da Silva at the VU University and VU medical center in Amsterdam, where he published the first detailed anatomical account of the organization of the entorhinal cortex, focusing on its role in hippocampal-cortical interactions (1985). After his Ph.D., he worked with David Amaral and Gary VanHoesen in the US (1985/1986) on the organization of the entorhinal-hippocampal system in primates and continued to work as assistant professor in the department of Anatomy at the Vrije University. In 1989 he published two influential papers on the anatomy of the cortico-hippocampal system, which still are considered 'classics' in the field. In these papers he proposed functional differentiation within the hippocampus and parahippocampus, an issue which is now at the heart of some of the more promising research lines in the hippocampal field. In 1990, together with David Amaral, he initiated the launch of the journal Hippocampus, which, now being in its 19th year, is a major vehicle for communication among scientists in the field. As of 1990, he headed his own research group, focusing on the functional organization of the medial temporal lobe (MTL), in particular in relation to learning and memory and Alzheimer's disease. In 1993, he worked as a visiting scientist and senior consultant with Prof. Dr. G. Matsumoto and Dr. T. Iijima, ETL, Tsukuba, Japan, where he started to use voltage-sensitive dye imaging to study network properties of the hippocampal-parahippocampal system. This powerful approach resulted in the description of networks potentially mediating reverberation, a proposed mechanism for memory storage. This collaboration has continued over the years, focusing on possible interactions between multiple input pathways onto identified neuronal populations.

In 1995, he was appointed as full professor in Anatomy and Embryology at the VU University Medical Center where he continued his work on functional anatomy of the cortico-hippocampal system, combined with in vivo electrophysiology and human functional MRI studies. He contributed significantly to our understanding of parallel input-output pathways between the parahippocampal region and the hippocampus, and the possibility of functional heterogeneity between hippocampal and parahippocampal subfields as well as within the individual subfields. In addition, on the basis of clinical and experimental data, he published a series of influential papers on the role of the midline and intralaminar thalamus in cognition and its contribution to diencephalic amnesia and frontal syndromes. In 1999 he was appointed as scientific director of the Institute for Neuroscience of the VU/VUmc and as director of the Graduate School Neuroscience Amsterdam. He was one of the founding directors of the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research VU/Vumc (2003).

In 2004 he was appointed as visiting professor in the Centre for the Biology of Memory and the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. In 2007 he moved to Trondheim, where he continues his work on functional anatomy of the cortico-hippocampal system, relevant to memory processes in particular to spatial memory and navigation. He combines anatomical approaches with in vitro electrophysiology. His current research interests include the study of functional differentiation between cell types and cell layers in the entorhinal cortex, structural and connectional differences between the lateral and medial entorhinal cortex and the development of the entorhinal cortex and its connections. He is also involved in human functional MRI studies that focus on understanding functional heterogeneity within the human MTL.



Contact details

Menno Witter, PhD
Professor Neuroscience, Dept. Neuroscience
Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Centre for the Biology of Memory
MTFS, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
NO-7489 Trondheim, Norway
Phone: +47 73598249
Fax: +47 73598294
Email: menno.witter at(@) ntnu.no

pubmed: witter mp[author]

NCBI: db=pubmed; Term=Witter MP[Author] NCBI pubmed
  • Related Articles The entorhinal cortex of the monkey: VI. Organization of projections from the hippocampus, subiculum, presubiculum and parasubiculum. J Comp Neurol. 2020 Jul 12;: Authors: Witter MP, Amaral DG Abstract The organization of projections from the macaque monkey hippocampus, subiculum, presubiculum and parasubiculum to the entorhinal cortex was analyzed using anterograde and retrograde tracing techniques. Projections exclusively originate in the CA1 field of the hippocampus and in the subiculum, presubiculum and parasubiculum. The CA1 and subicular projections terminate most densely in layers V and VI of the entorhinal cortex, with sparser innervation of the deep portion of layer III and layer I. Entorhinal projections from CA1 and the subiculum are topographically organized such that a rostrocaudal axis of origin is related to a medial-to-lateral axis of termination. A proximodistal axis of origin in CA1 and distoproximal axis in subiculum are related to a rostrocaudal axis of termination in the entorhinal cortex. The presubiculum sends a dense, bilateral projection to caudal parts of the entorhinal cortex. This projection terminates most densely in layer III with sparser termination in layers I, II and V. The same parts of entorhinal cortex receive a dense projection from the parasubiculum. This projection terminates in layers III and II. Both presubicular and parasubicular projections demonstrate the same longitudinal topographic organization as the projections from CA1 and the subiculum. These studies demonstrate that: 1) hippocampal and subicular inputs to the entorhinal cortex in the monkey are organized similar to those described in non-primate species; 2) the topographic organization of the projections from the hippocampus and subicular areas matches that of the reciprocal projections from the entorhinal cortex to the hippocampus and the subicular areas. PMID: 32656783 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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