Zaneta Navratilova

Phone: (403) 394-3981

Research Interests

I am interested in how the spiking of hippocampal place cells and other neurons influences memory formation. During my PhD in Dr. McNaughton’s laboratory, I studied the role of path integration on the firing of hippocampal and medial entorhinal cells. I created a model of medial entorhinal grid cells, to explain the sequential spike timing of grid cells during navigation. Then I studied how hippocampal place cell firing changes as a result of experience in a new environment.

I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Francesco Battaglia’s lab, in which I learned the technique of optogenetics, and studied how optogenetics can be used to modify the firing of circuits involved in memory (prefrontal cortex), and emotional enhancement of memory (amygdala). Currently I am back in Lethbridge, studying how sequences of place cell activity are modified during learning, and how these changes in firing during learning can be observed in rest periods following an experience.


  • Ph.D Neuroscience, University of Arizona, Sept. 2012
  • BSc. Molecular and cellular biology, University of Arizona, May 2006.
  • BSc. Psychology, University of Arizona, May 2006.


  1. Bartic C, Battaglia FP, Wang L, Nguyen TT, Cabral H, Navratilova Z. (2016). A Multichannel Recording System with Optical Stimulation for Closed-Loop Optogenetic Experiments. In: Arash Kianianmomeni (ed.). Methods in Molecular Biology. Springer, New York. pp.333-44. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3512-3_23.
  2. Navratilova Z, Godfrey KB, McNaughton BL. (2016). Grids from bands, or bands from grids? An examination of the effects of single unit contamination on grid cell firing fields. J Neurophysiol 115:992–1002. doi: 10.1152/jn.00699.2015.
  3. Gysbrechts B, Wang L, Trong NND, Cabral H, Navratilova Z, Battaglia F, Saeys W, Bartic C. (2015). Light distribution and thermal effects in the rat brain under optogenetic stimulation. J Biophotonics. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201500106.
  4. Navratilova Z, Battaglia FP. (2015). CA2: It’s About Time—and Episodes. Neuron 85:8–10. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.12.044.
  5. Nguyen TK, Navratilova Z, Cabral H, Wang L, Gielen G, Battaglia FP, Bartic C. (2014). Closed-loop optical neural stimulation based on a 32-channel low-noise recording system with online spike sorting. J. Neural Engineering, 11(4):046005. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/11/4/046005.
  6. Navratilova Z, McNaughton BL (2014). Models of Path Integration in the Hippocampal Complex. In: Derdikman D, Knierim JJ (eds) Space, Time and Memory in the Hippocampal Formation. Springer, Vienna, pp 191–224.
  7. Navratilova Z, Hoang LT, Schwindel CD, Tatsuno M and McNaughton BL (2012). Experience-dependent firing rate remapping generates directional selectivity in hippocampal place cells. Front. Neural Circuits 6:6. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2012.00006.
  8. Navratilova Z, Giocomo LM, Fellous JM, Hasselmo ME, McNaughton BL. (2012). Phase precession and variable spatial scaling in a periodic attractor map model of medial entorhinal grid cells with realistic after-spike dynamics. Hippocampus, 22: 772–789. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20939. (first published online, 11 April 2011).
  9. Fellous, J.-M., Sejnowski, T.J., Navratilova, Z. (2009). Intrinsic and network contributions to reverberatory activity: Reactive clamp and modeling studies. In Dynamic-Clamp, Destexhe, A., and Bal, T. (eds.), pp. 237-259. Springer Series in Computational Neuroscience 1.
  10. Burke, S.N., Maurer, A.P., Zhiyoung, Y., Navratilova, Z., and Barnes, C.A. (2008). Glutamate receptor-mediated restoration of experience-dependent place field expansion plasticity in aged rats. Behavioral Neuroscience 2008, 122:535-548.
  11. Etter, P., Narayanan, R., Navratilova, Z., Patel, C., Bohmann, D., Jasper, H., Ramaswami, M. (2005). Synaptic and genomic responses to JNK and AP-1 signaling in Drosophila neurons. BMC Neuroscience 2005, 6:39.