May-Britt Moser

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May-Britt Moser
May-Britt and Edvard Moser have pioneered research on the brain's mechanism for representing space during the last decade.
Born (1963-01-04) 4 January 1963 (age 51)
Fosnavåg, Norway
Residence Trondheim
Nationality Norwegian
Fields Neuroscience
Institutions Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory
Known for Grid cells, Neurons

May-Britt Moser is a Norwegian psychologist, neuroscientist and Founding Director of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory (KI/CBM) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway. Moser and her husband Edvard Moser have pioneered research on the brain's mechanism for representing space during the last decade.

Edvard and May-Britt Moser were appointed associate professors in psychology and neuroscience at NTNU in 1996, less than one year after their Ph.D defenses. They established The Centre for the Biology of Memory (CBM) in 2002 and the Kavli Institute, the 15th in the world and the 4th in neuroscience, in 2007.

The research institutes[edit]

The scientific goal of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience is to advance our understanding of neural circuits and systems. By focusing on spatial representation and memory, the investigators hope to uncover general principles of neural network computation in the mammalian cortex.

The Kavli Institute, supported by the Kavli Foundation, coexists with the Centre for the Biology of Memory (CBM), but the scope of the Institute is broader and more long-term. CBM is part of the Centre of Excellence scheme of the Research Council of Norway. The KI/CBM is also funded by the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) and an Advanced Investigator Grant from the European Research Council(ERC).

The research[edit]

May-Britt and Edvard Moser have studied how spatial location and spatial memory are computed in the brain. Their most famous contribution is probably the discovery in 2005 of entorhinal grid cells (Hafting et al., Nature 2005), which points to the entorhinal cortex as a hub for the brain network that makes us find our way. The discovery of the grid cells showed for the first time that the rat brain has its own universal map for encoding self-position in any environment. The discovery opened up new opportunities for investigating the cognitive functioning of the brain. The mapping system is probably also found in the human brain and that of other mammals.

The Mosers and the staff of researchers at the KI/CBM have shown how a variety of functional cell types in the entorhinal microcircuit contribute to representation of self-location, how the outputs of the circuit are used by memory networks in the hippocampus, and how episodic memories are separated from each other in the early stages of the hippocampal memory storage. The KI/CBM researchers have also discovered a new type of brain cells that registers borders and boundaries, and that the place cells in the hippocampus can operate at scales varying from about 50 centimetres to 10 metres.


May-Britt Moser has a degree in Psychology from the University of Oslo in 1990. She thereafter obtained her Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from the University of Oslo in 1995, under the supervision of professor Per Andersen. Moser went on to undertake postdoctoral training with Richard Morris at the Centre for Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh from 1994 to 1996, and was a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the laboratory of John O'Keefe at the University College, London. Moser returned to Norway in 1996 to be appointed Associate Professor in Biological Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. She was promoted to Full professor of Neuroscience at NTNU in 2000. Moser is also the founding co-director of the NTNU Centre for the Biology of Memory (2002) and the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience (2007).

She is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters[1] and the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences.[2]


  • 1999: Prize for young scientists awarded by the Royal Norwegian Academy for Sciences and Letters
  • 2005: 28th annual W. Alden Spencer Award (College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University)
  • 2006: 14th Betty and David Koetser Award for Brain Research (University of Zürich)
  • 2006: 10th Prix "Liliane Bettencourt pour les Sciences du Vivant" 2006 (Fondation Bettencourt, Paris)
  • 2008: 30th Eric K. Fernström’s Great Nordic Prize (Fernström Foundation, University of Lund)
  • 2011: Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine
  • 2011: Anders Jahre Award [3] (with Edvard Moser)
  • 2012: Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize (with Edvard Moser) [4]
  • 2013: Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (with Edvard Moser and John O'Keefe) [5]
  • 2014: Karl Spencer Lashley Award (with Edvard Moser)[6]


  • Moser was appointed by the European Research Council as a member of one of the evaluation panels for ERC startup grants for the period 2007-09.
  • In 2013 Moser received the Madame Beyer "Best female boss" award, in recognition of Moser's superb leadership, scientific achievements and her high ethical standards, as well as her consistent focus on team work and community spirit.[citation needed]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Brun, V.H., Otnæss, M.K., Molden, S., Steffenach, H.-A., Witter, M.P., Moser, M.-B., Moser, E.I. (2002). Place cells and place representation maintained by direct entorhinal-hippocampal circuitry. Science, 296, 2089-2284.
  • Fyhn, M., Molden, S., Witter, M.P., Moser, E.I. and Moser, M.-B. (2004). Spatial representation in the entorhinal cortex.Science, 305, 1258-1264.
  • Leutgeb, S., Leutgeb, J.K., Treves, A., Moser, M.-B. and Moser, E.I. (2004). Distinct ensemble codes in hippocampal areas CA3 and CA1. Science, 305, 1295-1298.
  • Leutgeb, S., Leutgeb, J.K., Barnes, C.A., Moser, E.I., McNaughton, B.L., and Moser, M.-B (2005). Independent codes for spatial and episodic memory in the hippocampus. Science, 309, 619-623.
  • Hafting, T., Fyhn, M., Molden, S., Moser, M.-B., and Moser, E.I. (2005). Microstructure of a spatial map in the entorhinal cortex.Nature, 436, 801-806.
  • Sargolini, F., Fyhn, M., Hafting, T., McNaughton, B.L., Witter, M.P., Moser, M.-B., and Moser, E.I. (2006). Conjunctive representation of position, direction and velocity in entorhinal cortex. Science, 312, 754-758.
  • Leutgeb, J.K., Leutgeb, S., Moser, M.-B., and Moser, E.I. (2007). Pattern separation in dentate gyrus and CA3 of the hippocampus. Science, 315, 961-966.
  • Fyhn, M., Hafting, T., Treves, A., Moser, M.-B. and Moser, E.I. (2007). Hippocampal remapping and grid realignment in entorhinal cortex. Nature, 446, 190-194.
  • Hafting, T., Fyhn, M., Bonnevie, T., Moser, M.-B. and Moser, E.I. (2008). Hippocampus-independent phase precession in entorhinal grid cells. Nature 453, 1248-1252.
  • Kjelstrup, K.B., Solstad, T., Brun, V.H., Hafting, T., Leutgeb, S., Witter, M.P., Moser, E.I. and Moser, M.-B. (2008). Finite scales of spatial representation in the hippocampus. Science 321, 140-143.
  • Solstad, T., Boccara, C.N., Kropff, E., Moser, M.-B. and Moser, E.I. (2008). Representation of geometric borders in the entorhinal cortex. Science, 322, 1865-1868.
  • Moser, E.I., Moser, M-B. (2011). Crystals of the brain. EMBO Mol. Med. 3, 1-4.
  • Moser, E.I., Moser, M-B. (2011). Seeing into the future. Nature, 469, 303-4
  • Jezek, K., Henriksen, EJ., Treves, A., Moser, E.I. and Moser, M-B. (2011). Theta-paced flickering between place-cell maps in the hippocampus. Nature, 478, 246-249.
  • Giocomo, LM., Moser, E.I., Moser, M-B. (2011) Grid cells use HCN1 channels for spatial scaling. Cell, 147, 1159-1170.


  1. ^ "Gruppe 7: Medisinske fag" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  2. ^ "Medlemmer: MOSER, May Britt" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  3. ^ The Anders Jahre Senior Medical Prize
  4. ^ 13th Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize Recipients UNC Neuroscience Center. Retrieved 23 September 2013
  5. ^ Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize 2013
  6. ^ Award Ceremonies Retrieved 21 March 2014

External links[edit]