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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.

 

Affiliations

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 Development and Topographic Organization of Subicular Projections to Lateral Septum in the Rat Brain. Eur J Neurosci. 2020 Feb 06;: Authors: Tsamis KI, Lagartos Donato MJ, Dahl AG, O'Reilly KC, Witter MP Abstract One of the main subcortical targets of hippocampal formation efferents is the lateral septum. Previous studies on the subicular projections, as a main output structure of the hippocampus, have shown a clear topographic organization of septal innervation, related to the origin of the fibers along the dorsoventral axis of the subiculum in the adult brain. In contrast, studies on the developing brain depict an extensive rearrangement of subicular projections during the prenatal period, shifting from the medial to the lateral septum. Our study aimed to describe the postnatal development of subicular projections to the septum. We injected anterograde tracers into the subiculum of 57 pups of different postnatal age. Injections covered the proximo-distal and dorso-ventral axis of the subiculum. The age of the pups at day of tracer injection ranged from the day of birth to postnatal day 30. Analyses revealed that from the first postnatal day projections from subiculum preferentially target the lateral septum. Sparse innervation in the lateral septum was already present in the first few postnatal days and during the following 3 weeks the axonal distribution gradually expanded. Subicular projections to the lateral septum are topographically organized depending on the origin along the dorso-ventral axis of the subiculum, in line with the adult innervation pattern. Different origins along the proximo-distal axis of the subiculum are reflected in changes in the strength of septal innervation. The findings demonstrate that in case of the development of subicular projections, axonal expansion is more prominent than axonal pruning. PMID: 32027422 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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