Rodrigo Quian Quiroga

Rodrigo Quian Quiroga

Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

Life & Medical Sciences

Rodrigo Quian Quiroga studied Physics at University of Buenos Aires and did a PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Luebeck, Germany. He was a postdoc at the Research Center Juelich, Germany and a Sloan Fellow at Caltech. In 2004, he got a lectureship at Leicester University, was promoted to Reader in 2006 and to full Professor and Head of Bioengineering in 2008. In 2012 he was awarded a Research Chair and founded the Centre for Systems Neuroscience. Since 2023 he is an ICREA Research Professor, working at the IMIM. He has published more than 120 papers and 5 books (Borges and memory, The forgetting machine, Neurocience Fiction, Imaging brain function with EEG, and Principles of neural coding). He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in the UK and was selected as one of the 10 UK leaders in Science and Engineering by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Engineering and Physics Research Council.

Research interests

Given my initial background in Physics and Applied Mathematics, I have developed Signal Processing methods for the analysis of complex electrophysiology data. In particular, I developed a ‘spike sorting’ algorithm to identify the activity of single neurons that outperformed previous algorithms and that is currently used by several laboratories worldwide [Neural Comp 2004]. The use of this algorithm allowed me to discover a new type of neuron in the human brain, so called “Concept Cells” or “Jennifer Aniston neurons”, which fire selectively to specific concepts [Nature 2005]. In following studies, we showed that these neurons form and store memories [Neuron 2015; Nat. Comm. 2016; Nat. Comm. 2018; Cell 2019], and based on these data, I have proposed that memory coding in the human hippocampus is completely different to what has been described in other species and can be the basis of cognitive abilities uniquely developed in humans [Cell 2017; Science 2019; Cell 2019; TiCS 2020].

Selected publications

Quian Quiroga R 2023, ‘An integrative view of human hippocampal function: Differences with other species and capacity considerations‘, Hippocampus, 33, 5, 616-634.

– Quian Quiroga R, Boscaglia M, Jonas J, et al. 2023, ‘Single neuron responses underlying face recognition in the human midfusiform face-selective cortex.’, Nature Communications, 14, 1, 5661 – 5661.
Boscaglia M, Gastaldi C, Gerstner W, Quian Quiroga R. 2023, ‘A dynamic attractor network model of memory formation, reinforcement and forgetting’, PLOS Computational Biology, 19, 12, e1011727.